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Vol. 2, Issue 6 November, 1994
The electronic magazine of hip-hop music and culture
Brought to you as a service of the Committee of Rap Excellence
Section 1 -- ONE
Table of Contents
Sect. Contents Author
----- -------- ------
001 The introduction
A Da 411 - table of contents
B Da 411 - HardC.O.R.E.
C Yo! We Want Your Demos
002 What's Up in Hip-Hop
A New Jack Hip Hop Awards Info firstname.lastname@example.org
B The CD Debate, Part 3 email@example.com
C Commercially Yours firstname.lastname@example.org
D Jeru the Hypocrite email@example.com
E Digging Up The Roots firstname.lastname@example.org
F The Justice System email@example.com
G Roots-N-Rap: The Last Poets firstname.lastname@example.org
H Yaggfu Front leaves Mercury email@example.com
I The Atlanta Scene firstname.lastname@example.org
J Flash's Video Review email@example.com
K Lyric of the Month O.C.
L Feature Review: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Coup, "Genocide and Juice"
003 The Official HardC.O.R.E. Album Review Section
A Bomb Hip-Hop Comp. email@example.com
B BoogieMonsters firstname.lastname@example.org
C Common Sense email@example.com
D Craig Mack firstname.lastname@example.org
E Digable Planets email@example.com
F Finsta & Bundy firstname.lastname@example.org
G K.M.D. email@example.com
H Mexakinz firstname.lastname@example.org
I Notorious B.I.G. email@example.com
J O.C. firstname.lastname@example.org
K Off the Dome Comp. email@example.com
L Paris firstname.lastname@example.org
M Phat Trax Comp. email@example.com
N PMD firstname.lastname@example.org
O Poppa Doo email@example.com
P Saafir firstname.lastname@example.org
Q Simple E email@example.com
R Sir Mix-a-Lot firstname.lastname@example.org
S Skadanks email@example.com
T Sudden Death firstname.lastname@example.org
The C.O.R.E. creed
We at C.O.R.E. support underground hip-hop (none of that crossover
bullshucks). That means we also support the 1st Amendment and the right to
The C.O.R.E. anthems
How About Some HardC.O.R.E. M.O.P.
We In There (remix) Boogie Down Productions
Feel the Vibe, Feel the Beat Boogie Down Productions
I Used To Love H.E.R. Common Sense
True to the Game Ice Cube
Straighten It Out Pete Rock and CL Smooth
In the Trunk Too $hort
Remember Where You Came From Whodini
To subscribe to the HardC.O.R.E. listserver, send a message to
email@example.com with the following lines of text in the body
of your message:
You will receive new issues of HardC.O.R.E. as they become available.
Back issues of HardC.O.R.E. are available via anonymous FTP at
ftp.etext.org://pub/Zines/HardCORE and via Gopher at
Asalaam alaikum from Flash
A'ight, let's say you got a demo that you've been trying to shop
around. A few people like it, but nobody with some clout is buying. Or
let's say you know someone who's got some skills, but you don't know what
you can do to help 'em get on. Suppose even further, that you've got an
internet account (chances are you do, else you wouldn't be reading this),
and want to give you and your friends' efforts a little pub.
Have we got a deal for you.
HardC.O.R.E.'s review section isn't just for the major labels.
We don't even GET anything from major labels. In fact, some of us would
much rather review what the independent folks are making, since they
aren't affected by the A&R and high level decisions of major labels.
So we want to hear what you guys are making. A few groups are
getting their demos reviewed here among the likes of Gangstarr, Heavy D.
and the Boys, Terminator X and Arrested Development. Who knows? You
might even hear bigger and better things from The Mo'Fessionals, DOA,
Raw Produce, and Union of Authority before you know it. With all the
people subscribing to HardCORE (not to mention the number of people
reading HardCORE via FTP and Gopher), you never know who might want to
hear your music.
Give us a shout. You can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
or Flash at email@example.com, and we'll let you know where you can
send your tape. Keep in mind that we're pretty honest with our reviews
(if we think your shit is wack, we'll say so to your face), but if you
think you got what it takes, you'll see a review from us before you know
it. All you have to lose is a tape, right?
Section 2 -- TWO
Yep, yep! Once again, it's that time of the year!
For those of you who haven't been around:
A while back, everyone on alt.rap and the funky-music mailing list was
bitchin' about how lame the Grammy's were in general, and especially
how weak they were when it came to rap and hip-hop.
Thus was born the New Jack Hip Hop Awards.
In *this* awards thang, *you* get to decide the best stuff over the
last year. You get to nominate. You get to vote. You can't blame
the Grammy's or the American Music Awards. If your favorite didn't
get nominated or voted a winner and you didn't take your chance to
nominate or vote, well, that's your fault, isn't it?
Here's the scoop:
The categories from last year are posted and if anyone has any bright
ideas or suggestions for new categories (or reasons to get rid of or
replace old ones), e-mail them to me. Anyone who wants to help count
should volunteer their services (please!).
With the categories decided, I post a nomination form. This'll happen
the first time around the week of the 14th (the first Wednesday before
the 14th if it falls on any day but a Tuesday and the 15th if it does
fall on a Wednesday). In any and all categories, you may nominate up
to three people. Nomination forms must be e-mailed to *me* and you
must follow directions exactly. I'll post the form every week and,
yes, I know that people go away for holidays. That's why the
nomination period is so long.
With the finalists determined, I post the voting form. Pick your
winners and send them to me.
I post the results.
Now during any of this, postings to wherever this message appears is
fine, if you care to argue your case or whatever.
Anyway, I'll be posting official rules (to alt.rap) and all that very
soon (over and over again)... so start thinking about it.
Below, I'm including the proposed categories for this year. They are
the same as last year except that they include three new awards (I'll
let you discover what those are). So, if has any bright ideas or
suggestions for new categories (or reasons to get rid of or replace
old ones), e-mail them to me.
Also, anyone who wants to help count should volunteer! Please!
"Who gives a fuck about a goddamned Grammy?"
====----> Progressive/Jazz Rap
Groups like De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest (and in fact the whole
Native Tongue Family), as well as Souls of Mischief, Digable Planets
and the like fall into this class.
Phattest Progressive/Jazz Rap Group
Phattest Progressive/Jazz Male Rapper
Phattest Progressive/Jazz Female Rapper
Phattest Progressive/Jazz Rap Single
Phattest Progressive/Jazz Rap Album
====----> Political Hip-Hop
I think this is pretty obvious. Rap with an explicit social and/or
Phattest Political Group
Phattest Political Male Rapper
Phattest Political Female Rapper
Phattest Political Rap Single
Phattest Political Rap Album
====----> Gangsta Hip-Hop
Well, this is everyone from Ice Cube to Geto Boys to Ice T to Snoop
and back. Use your judgment.
Phattest Gangsta Group
Phattest Gangsta Male Rapper
Phattest Gangsta Female Rapper
Phattest Gangsta Rap Single
Phattest Gangsta Rap Album
Rappin' for your ego rappers go here. Say hi to everyone from Souls
of Mischief to Chubb Rock to Das EFX.
Phattest Braggadocio Group
Phattest Braggadocio Male Rapper
Phattest Braggadocio Female Rapper
Phattest Braggadocio Rap Single
Phattest Braggadocio Rap Album
====----> Nasty rap
Nasty to be nasty. Overlaps a bit with some gangsta rappers.
Phattest Nasty Group
Phattest Nasty Male Rapper
Phattest Nasty Female Rapper
Phattest Nasty Rap Single
Phattest Nasty Rap Album
====----> Crossover Rap
This is not to be confused with hip-pop like Vanilla Ice Cream Cone.
This is the rap that really "crosses" to other genres, be they R&B,
reggae, hard rock or even pop while actually remaining both good *and* true
to hip hop. As time goes on, some of these may spin off into their
own subawards (see Progressive/Jazz).
Phattest Crossover Group
Phattest Crossover Male Rapper
Phattest Crossover Female Rapper
Phattest Crossover Rap Single
Phattest Crossover Rap Album
====----> The Dope Thangs
Include the artist and the single.
Slammin' music is not required. Both individual rappers and groups
may apply. Include the artist and the single.
Most Slammin' Beat
Dope lyrics are not required. Both individual rappers and groups
may apply. Include the artist and the single.
It's not a lost art yet. Include the album or EP.
Include the album or EP.
====----> More Dope Thangs
Leaders of the New School
Award for the most innovative rapper/group this year. Doesn't have
to be someone new, might be an old dog learning and teaching some
new tricks. In any case, should take hip hop in a new direction.
The folks starting the new subgenres. Include album or EP.
Best fusion of Hip-Hop with non-Hip-Hop
Being the experimenters that they are, Hip-Hop artists are often
trying to merge their styles with stuff from other genres, be it
heavy metal, jazz or country. Who did the best thing this year?
Include single, album or EP.
Phattest Non-USA Artist
Often, we in the USA never get exposure to the phat macks outside
the border. Those of you lucky to have done so should open our
eyes by noting the artist and his or her single, album or EP.
Phattest Reggae Hip Hop artist
'Nuff respect to all dancehall massive and crew. Question: who
ruled the dancehall this year? Include single, album or EP.
Provider of Phattest Samples
Everyone from James Brown to The Gap Band to Chick Corea have been
so kind as to provide hip hop with dope samples. Who's provided the
best stuff *this year*? All we require is a name, but we'll give
you extra props if you can name actual singles.
Most Innovative Use of a Sample
Award for the artist who used a sample (be it music, voice or
whatever) in the most innovative or unexpected way to great
effect. May be as simple as managing to sample the Partridge
Family and making it funky or holding album-long conversations
with Bert & Ernie. Note the artist, the single/album/EP and a
reason for the award.
====----> Dope Videos and Other Visual Stuff
Phattest Short Form Video
Award for the Phattest video. Include artist and single.
Phattest Long Form Video
Award for the Phattest long form video release. Include artist and
name of videotape.
Phattest Hip Hop Video Show
Best show, syndicated or otherwise, about Hip Hop. Include the
VeeJay(s) as well as the name of the show.
Best live performance/tour/live album
Include name of tour or performance or live album/EP.
====----> Whackness and former whackness
For the suckas that go pop. Should have been at least vaguely
hip-hop in the first place. Include album, EP, single or whatever.
The weakest, but visible, whackster of the year. Include album, EP,
single or whatever.
This is different than the biggest sellout. Sometimes old
favorites just plain fall off without even getting the money for
selling out. Who fell flat this year? Include album, EP or
Most Overrated Rapper
Yet another bit of semantic subtlety. Now there are whack rappers
in hip-pop and we know who they are. But sometimes we get rappers
who produce a strong split in The Underground. Who do *you* think
gets all these mad props but shouldn't? Well? Include album, EP
On the good side, sometimes folks we had written off as dead, come
back like hard. Note that here. Include single or album or EP.
Hardest and Ugliest Dis'
Award for *the* hardest most diggum-smack dis of the year--the one
that made you screw up your face and go "damn!" Include the
artist and the single.
====----> What you've been waiting for
Most Unfairly Slept On Album
Ever year some artist comes off proper but is ignored by the
community. Here we may remedy that.
Phattest New Hip Hopster
The best New Jack to arrive on the scene this year. Include the
album or EP.
Hall of Fame
Award for that person or persons who managed to make hip hop history
and have stood the test of time. Put on your history caps for this
one. We're talking about those back in the day who helped make our
current dopeness possible.
Note: Public Enemy, Run-DMC and KRS-One/Boogie Down Productions,
our 1991-1993 winners, are *ineligible* this year.
Album Hall of Fame
Award for that album that has managed to make hip hop history
and has stood the test of time. This is for *the* best and most
influential hip hop albums *ever*. So, act like you know.
Phattest Rap Single
The Phattest single to drop this year. Period.
Phattest Rap Album
The Phattest album to drop this year. Period.
====----> And that's it.
THE SAGA CONTINUES...
. IN DEFENSE OF COMPACT DISCS
. A rebuttal of David J's column, "The CD Counter-Revolution."
. Ease of song selection:
. 1. CD
. 2. vinyl
. 3. cassette
. With compact discs, you can start at any song on the disc you
.want. Most radio stations have professional CD machines that will
.auto-cue your songs, and allow you to do editing tricks. With vinyl,
.you have much the same benefits, minus only a slightly lesser musical
.quality. Tapes just outright SUCK. Who wants to rewind and
Are you crazy??
Am I crazy??
Vinyl has superior sound quality!!
Must be your turntables and pre-amps..
. Ease of song manipulation:
. 1. vinyl
. 2. CD
. 3. cassette
. Obviously, you can't do scratching with a CD or a cassette.
.CD's do allow you to pinpoint specific parts of a song easily though,
How do you find that mellow part, three minutes in the song using CD?
With a turntable you just put the needle there in an instant, on a CD
you have to FF like a looser, even on "DJ" CD-players.
. Cost of production:
. 1. CD
. 2. cassette
. 3. vinyl
. Here is where the hip-hop nation benefits most from CDs.
.Harry Allen said it best on his new P.E. track, traveling down the
.interactive highway. :> Compact discs are cheap to produce, and the
.equipment to produce music is moving away from corporate control and
.into the hands of the masses. This can only benefit us. Music
.distribution and production becomes decentralized, and the hip-hop
.nation bumrushes the system. Cassettes are cheap but shitty, and
.vinyl is expensive.
Well to produce a CD-UMATIC master tape with time coding and
the actual CD-master is very expensive. Could never be done 'at home'..
A vinyl-master is much cheaper.
Vinyl is only expensive because they are just not made in the same numbers
as CD's, of course making a nice record sleeve becomes expensive if you
only print 1,000 copies.
Make 1,000,000 and it's a different case!
. Obviously we need to continue to support vinyl as a vital part
.of hip-hop music, but that doesn't mean we have to beat up on the CD.
.As a DJ they are fabulous for me. I can mix back and forth between
.CDs and records with the greatest of ease. Perhaps we should learn to
.work with both technologies instead of trying to put them at war.
Well, CD's need not to be defended.
Stephanie R. McNeal
COCA-COLA AND HIP-HOP -- COMMERCIALLY YOURS
Though pop culturists and journalists alike have battled
verbally over whether or not the components of the hip-hop genre can
be defined as a "culture", there appears to be an overwhelming
emphasis on this artistic sensibility in today's advertising. And the
folks at Coca-Cola seem to have jumped on this bandwagon even more
than sneaker or denim clothing manufacturers have.
Remember back in the day when Coke liked to teach the world to
sing? Or when Sprite was the soda that gave you that refreshing twist
of "lymon"? Well, I guess that urban teenagers proved to be a much
better target audience than baby-boomers, at least in the last 2
years. Sure, the older crowd and babies still get that warm, fuzzy
feeling from the Coca-Cola polar bears, but we are now being inundated
with hip-hop beats, ethnic fabric prints, and street slang in the
latest attempt to rekindle our obsession with the Coke soda pop
But there are no gangstas in this utopian rap-flavored world.
We've had the pop crossover personalities of Kris Kross, Heavy D, and
A Tribe Called Quest liking the Sprite in us and telling us to obey
our thirst. We've had rapidly flashing swatches of kente in the
backdrop of that familiar red & white logo. We've been given a "phat
and all that" plastic 20-oz. twist on the old familiar "real thing"
green glass 16-oz. bottle. And Coke is riding the jeep-beats all the
way to the bank.
Those of us who truly love hip-hop in its rawest incarnations
should question its use in the marketing of products to our
generation. Rap wasn't started or developed to be trendy. Hip-hop
was created to be an outlet from the creative stagnancy of popular
music, to challenge norms and to encompass a different aesthetic. Do
we really want companies like Coca-Cola making the appeal of hip-hop
comparable to the "pop" it sells?
Steven J Juon
JERU THE HYPOCRITE
According to a recent issue of RapPages (Arrested Development
on the cover), Jeru the Damaja beat down a reporter for an unfavorable
review and threatened another. Considering this is a man we view as a
"prophet", I am deeply disturbed... more so than I ever was by KRS-
One's understandable if misinformed beatdown of Prince Be. Further,
this message I received from Chad Scoville (firstname.lastname@example.org) only
seemed to confirm my worst fears. Here's a sample...
I saw Jeru at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute [a few] weeks
ago. Before going, I was pumped to finally sample in the flesh one of
the dopest lyricists to hit this year. I was deeply disappointed...
Not only was Jeru wack, meaning he COULDN'T keep the crowd up,
but something else happened in response to one of his comments to the
crowd. Nearing the end of his set, a fight broke out right in front
of center stage. Now, the intro to "Come Clean" has just begun, and
every one was getting into it. In response to everyone flippin and
breakin, Jeru tries to get the crowd to chill, by saying "Instead of
killin a brother, kill a devil." Quickly after realizing what he
said, Jeru remarked "Naw, I mean flip a devil."
As Chad himself said, I don't really know what to think.
Obviously Jeru had a reason for retracting that statement after saying
it. I have no problem if he was going to preach a hardcore devil-
stance in his lyrics and actions, but it seems that's how he FEELS
even if that's not what he SAYS. These hypocritical actions and
statements are really starting to weigh heavy on the brother, and I
think it's time Jeru took a little of his advice -- he needs to come
DIGGING UP THE ROOTS
With a single blowing up stateside, an EP getting good pub in
Europe, and an authentic hip hop sound that most live bands still
haven't been able to duplicate, The Roots have made much noise with
their "organically grown hip hop" sound. Some of it has to do with
the slick production of B.R.O.TheR.? (pronounced "Brother Question"),
but even more credit goes to the funky lyrical flavors of Mr. Black
Thought and Malik B., two MC's bound and determined to put the city of
Philadelphia on the map for real.
I got the chance to chat with the Roots one night at WXDU 88.7
FM, Duke University's student radio station, where DJ Mike Nice and
the Madman invited them in for a chat and a freestyle session. I
managed to sneak in a few questions of my own on the side when the
rest of the interview dropped off...
MadMan (DJ): Introduce yourselves to the people out there who don't
know you guys.
Black Thought: Well, The Roots are a hip hop band, you know what I'm
sayin'? A live hip hop band, and we represent from the
city of Philadelphia. We're comprised of two vocalists,
myself, Mr. Black Thought, my man Malik B. right here,
and on drums, bass and keys, we got local percussionists
working with the group and my man right here, the
Godfather of Noise. Our album is coming out the 25th
of (October), and it's called "Do You Want More?"
We've got the phat single out now.
Malik B.: Yeah, "Distortion to Static" is the single, and it's about
how we laugh at all the wack MC's.
Mike Nice (DJ): Yeah, so who are your mentors? Who do you follow
behind in this? I know your style is a little
different from everybody else, so...
BT: I mean, basically Me and Malik, like, lyrically we try to stay
from, y'know what I'm sayin', followin' behind anybody else's traits
or somebody else's style, know what I mean? We are highly influenced
by all the other lyricists that came through the industry and some
that aren't even around anymore, y'know what I'm sayin'? Everybody
influences you, either in a good way or in a bad way. So we take all
of that into what everybody else is doin', but as far as comprising a
style, we kind of block it out.
MN: These brothers are definitely representin' Philadelphia here...
David J.: Check it out, though, you guys mentioned a lot about London
on that promo EP of yours. What's the connection there?
BT: The EP that my man in the background is speakin' about is an EP
which is called "From The Ground Up," which is in U.K. record stores
now on a division of Polygram called Talkin' Loud Records. That's a
record that we were doing on that label at the same time that we were
doing this record here in the States on Geffen. It was specifically
for the U.K., so that's why we mentioned London, plus we lived in
London for a short period, like from the end of the spring to almost
this entire summer.
Madman: So what's the scene like over there, y'all being American
artists and all that?
BT: They're real appreciative of music over there, y'know what I'm
sayin'? They're real appreciative because the music's from the
U.S. and it's foreign to them, so they just accept whatever the
States put out as the format.
DJ: So is the stuff that's on the EP going to be on "Do You Want More?"
BT: No, it's different material. There's a couple tunes -- like
"Distortion" is on the EP, and "Dat Scat" is on the EP, and those
tunes are on the album as well, but the album is like 17 tunes,
and most of them are new tracks.
Madman: We're about to jump into this single here, this is the B-Side
called "The Lesson." Thanks for comin' out, guys.
MN: Yeah, see you at the Pub. Get my drink on, yo...
Kymm Britton and Dee Philipp Binggeli
SOUNDCHECKING WITH JUSTICE SYSTEM
The infusion of live instruments into the sample-heavy world
of hip hop continues to enliven the evolving art form of rap. Real
guitars, real drums, real voices singing out over a relentless beat --
this is the future of hip hop, and no other band embodies this bold
ideal better than Justice System, six (sometimes seven) musicians
working together to create a unified rap flavor, invigorating a genre
that all too often sounds mechanical and soulless.
Quite a goal for six young men who grew up together in tiny
Greenburgh, New York, forming Justice System some five years ago while
still in high school. But one listen to the band's initial effort,
Rooftop Soundcheck, proves that Justice System has created one of the
liveliest and most exciting debut albums in recent memory, sounding
like a clarion call to the rap community--wake up and dig the new
Justice System's history begins at Woodland High School in
Greenburgh, New York, where in 1990 rappers John "Jahbaz" Dawson and
Tom "Folex" Foley hooked up with longtime friends Chris "Wizard C.
Roc" Nordland and the brothers Alex ("Coz Boogie") and Eric ("Eric
G.") Gopoian to form a band that, as Folex puts it, "would rely on
real people making music and having something to say, and not hiding
it behind DATs and samples." A year later, multi-instrumentalist Alex
"Mo'Better Al" Auld came on board to add some spice to the mix and
help with demos.
The legendary Zulu Nation, a major influence, heard Justice
System's tape and invited the fledgling band to open some of their
shows, where the sextet was introduced to another hero: Afrika
Bambaataa. By this time, Justice System was building a steady
following in Manhattan's downtown club scene, playing sold-out shows
at S.O.B.'s, The Grand and the New Music Cafe. MCA Records caught the
buzz and promptly signed the band on to an exclusive contract.
Thus Rooftop Soundcheck, was born with its moving tribute to
their heroes, called "Dedication to Bambaataa."
Says Jahbaz, "We were listening to people like Curtis
Mayfield, Isaac Hayes, Coltrane, Stevie Wonder and Bambaata, and we
were affected by the spirituality in that music. But when we looked
around and saw how many musicians these artists had influenced, and
weren't getting their due, we wanted to correct the situation. Because
it's artists like Bambaataa that set the foundation for all that was
Key tracks from Rooftop Soundcheck, which was produced by
Justice System with help from Eddie Martinez (guitarist for Chic,
Patti LaBelle, Run D.M.C. and others), include "Soul Style," based on
the Langston Hughes poem "Negro Speaks of Rivers," one of the best
explorations of the creative process ever put on the record; "Summer
in the City," the debut 12" and first video (which was shot at night
on the streets of New York City); and "Trouble on My Mind," a song
Folex calls "a breakdown of the last four years in the lifetime of
Justice System. It tells how to watch out for sharks in this business,
and how you have to keep your focus on the music and not get
distracted by people who want to use you."
But the element that sets Justice System apart from the rest
of the hip hop pack is their strength as musicians.
"It's all about takin' it to the stage," says Jahbaz. "You
have to be able to do it live, and this is a real band which doesn't
rely on pre-recorded technology to get its message across. So our
sound is more organic and alive, and when Folex and I are rappin' over
that soulful music behind us, the power is undeniable."
And the power of the sample-free music of Rooftop Soundcheck is
undeniable. One listen, and you'll stay for the show.
Russell A. Potter
The Last Poets
When asked about the first rappers, knowledgeable hip-hop
heads won't start talking about the Sugar Hill Gang. They know that
the Last Poets were rapping over a beat back when Big Bank Hank was
still in diapers. Yet, partly because of the vagaries of record
distribution in the CD era, and partly because of the fast-forward
amnesia fostered by the record industry, few people have actually
heard the Last Poets, save for a few sampled snippets here and there
("Time is running out"). Complicating matters, the Last Poets'
membership has varied greatly over the years, withrival groups at
several points claiming the title of the "original" Last Poets; recent
years have seen still more rifts between the surviving Poets.
Yet despite this confusion, most of the Last Poets' output is
readily available on CD -- if you're willing to take some time to
track it down. Like other neglected Black artists, their music is
actually better known in Europe, and even Japan, than it is in the
U.S., and if you're willing to pay the premium for imports, and have a
good used CD or vinyl shop in your neighborhood, it's possible to find
almost everything the Last Poets recorded. But first, a little
The Poets first got together in Harlem in 1969, as legend has
it, at a celebration of Malcolm X's birthday in Mt. Morris park,
creating what Ty Williams calls "a workshop of the mind." This
original get-together led to further sessions at "East Wind," a loft
located on 125th St. between Madison and Fifth Avenues, and a record
contract with Alan Douglas (known as the producer of Hendrix's
_Electric Ladyland_ LP). It was a time of potent Black nationalism,
and the Black Arts were a major part of that scene; the Poets took
their inspiration from poets like Imamu Amiri Baraka, musicians like
Coltrane and Sun Ra, and political organizations like the Panthers and
They chose African-flavored jazz rhythms as their
backup, rather than R&B, consciously rejecting (at least at first)
mass-media "Black" culture. Theirs was a performance art, done on the
spot at late-night sessions, improvising individually and collectively,
trading words just as jazz musicians traded melodic ideas, repeating
them with variations, coming together with multiple voices for the
climax. Here's a small part of their seminal track, "Run, Nigger"
(a.k.a. "Time is Running Out"):
I understand that time is running out
I understand that time is running out
I understand that time is running out
I understand that time is running out
Running out as hastily as niggaz run from the Man
Time is running out on our natural habits...
Time is running out on lifeless serpents reigning
over a living kingdom
Time is running out of talks, marches tunes, chants,
and all kinds of prayers
Time ... is running out of time.
I heard someone say things are CHANGING
Chain ... chain chain CHANGING
from Brown to Black, time is running out on
Running out like a bush fire in a dry forest
Like a murderer from the scene of a crime
Like a little roach from DDT ...
Hanging out at East Wind in those days was Afrocentricity in
action. Yet for reasons lost in obscurity, not all of the Poets who
used to gather there made it into Douglas's recording sessions.
Felipe Luciano, Gylan Kain, and David Nelson -- all absent from the
Douglas Records lineup -- went on to perform as the "Original Last
Poets," and gained fame as the soundtrack artists for the film "Right
On!" (1971). Kain went on to a solo project, "Blue Guerrilla," a sort
of slice-of-life set piece which was the inspiration behind K.M.D.'s
unreleased second album "Black Bastards" (a title taken from Kain's
raps). Luciano's "Jazz" was something of a minor hit, and still
brings back memories for those who heard it at the time:
JAAAZZZZ, yeah, is a woman's tongue
Stuck dead in your mouth, ya dig it?
JAAAZZZZ, yeah, is a woman's tongue
Stuck all in your mouth
JAAAZZZZ, is a tongue, cool
Lickin' ya slowly, revolving around your side, your cheeks
Letting you know who's come to visit
Or teasing and tickling you your teeth
Buffing them 'till they shine-sparkle
Or HOT, WET, like the black streets in El Barrio
After a quick sun-shower ...
Yet these Poets, even though they were there at the start,
were eventually displaced by the Poets who recorded for Douglas,
including Alafia Pudim (a.k.a. Jalaluddin Mansur Nuriddin, a.k.a.
Lightnin' Rod), Sulieman El-Hadi, Abiodun Oyewole, and Omar Ben Hassan
(lately known as Umar Bin Hassan), along with percussionist Nilaja.
These were the poets (minus Oyewole, who departed after the first
album) who formed the core of *THE* Last Poets from the early 70's
into the mid-80's, offering up a potent series of political and
personal commentaries on everything from race relations to Ho Chi Minh
to the birth control pill.
Many of their early tracks are landmarks of poetic radicalism,
and have been claimed by rappers as seminal influences: "Niggas Are
Scared of Revolution" and "When the Revolution Comes" predate and
prefigure Gil Scott-Heron's "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised";
"White Man's Got a God Complex" struck a potent satirical chord in
1971 (and again in 1994, with a cover by Flavor Flav on PE's new Muse
Sick n Hour Mess Age album which features backup from Umar Bin
Hassan). Still, perhaps because of their unusual polyrhythms, the
Poets aren't sampled as often as they might be, though artists such as
different as Yo Yo, A Tribe Called Quest, and Paris have looped lines
from "Run, Nigger" on their recent albums. They also top many
rappers' prop lists (right up there after God and Moms). Their
influence is great, but it's more an influence on *attitude* than on
the music itself.
Yet while the Poets' early work may seem strangely unfunky to
a 1994 hip-hop head, they also made interesting moves towards funk and
hip-hop in the late 70's and early 80's. Pudim/Nuriddin, under the
name "Lightnin' Rod," cut a wild track with Hendrix (Doriella Du
Fontaine), and hooked up later on with Kool and the Gang and Eric Gale
in 1973 to cut "Hustlers' Convention," which Nelson George calls "a
moralistic blaxploitation film on record." Certainly listening to it
today, it sounds in places like a catalog of outdated hustler cliches,
but it also makes effective use of funk grooves, street noises, and
sound effects in a way that brings to mind the better skits and
interludes on hip-hop discs today.
According to David Toop, "Hustlers' Convention" had a powerful
street-level impact, and was used as a break record by some of the
first hip-hop DJ's. Here are a few lines from the opening track,
It was a full moon, in the middle of June
In the summer of '59
I was young and cool,
And shot a *bad* game of pool
And hustled all the chumps I could find ...
Nuriddin was the one Poet who clearly paid attention to what
was happening with rap; he put out a beat-box/synth track ("Long
Enough") on Brooklyn's Kee Wee label in 1984, as well as a hip-hop
remake of the Poets' "Mean Machine" with Grandmaster D.ST (the wizard
behind the wheels in "Rockit") on Celluloid. Nuriddin was, and remains
the funkiest of the Poets, as his new album with El-Hadi,
"Scaterrap/Home" proves (see below).
The careers of other Poets have been varied to say the
least; aside from Nilaja (who died of a brain tumor in 1980), they
have all carried on their artistry, though not always in public
performances or records. Abiodun Oyewole, semi-retired since 1984's
"Super Horror Show" on the Nia label, resurfaced to speak with Ice
Cube in a _New York Times_ Magazine_ interview earlier this year. He's
been teaching school and trying to instill pride in a new generation.
While reluctant at first to recognize Cube's work as a continuation of
his own, he came to respect him personally in the course of the
interview. Towards the end, he tells Cube:
"Rap has made itself a billion-dollar industry, and you and some other
brothers are sitting at the top of the charts because of the simple
reason that people have a need to express themselves and hear their
own voice. And you have been that mirror, relecting a lot of the pain
and joy they have felt. But the reality is, what we got to do is take
all of that pain and joy and give it some direction so we can have a
tomorrow. But not only for you -- for me, too, old as I am, I'm 40-
plus. I still got to grow. And I've got to respect that your rebel
spirit is the same rebel spirit I had."
"Reality" rappers take note -- Oyewole has recently re-united
with some of the other Poets to record a new album, "Holy Terror,"
released last year in Japan and just now available in the U.S. For
better or worse, the Poets, like many Black artists, have enjoyed more
honor abroad than at home; their albums are big sellers in Japan, and
Japanese and European labels have been home to most of their post-
Umar Bin Hassan, who left the group in the mid-70's to pursue his
ambitions as a playwright, also recently returned to the studio, working
with Bill Laswell on a number of projects on the latter's AXIOM label,
including a solo album, "Be Bop or Be Dead," which appeared last year. It
features re-makes of some classic Poets jams ("Niggers Are Scared of
Revolution," "This is Madness") as well as new cuts ("Bum Rush," "Personal
Things"), and funky backup from AXIOM regulars Bernie Worrell, Bootsy
Collins, Foday Musa Suso, and Aiyb Deng.
El-Hadi and Nuriddin, for their part, express some bitterness
about Laswell, Celluloid, and Axiom; after their props list on their
current CD, they send out, "No thanks to Celluloid Wreckoids N.Y. &
Bill Laswell of AXIOM Wreckoids and the past poets who copped out and
dropped out while we (THE LAST POETS) held out." Still, word is that
they are finally getting back together with Umar Bin Hassan and
Laswell and are recording some sides in London (where Jalal now lives)
for a new album. For now, the closest thing to hearing those
recordings is Nuriddin and El-Hadi's current release,
This album returns to the old questions of Time and Space --
the CD art features their two faces surrounded by the track numbers
with Roman numerals like the face of a clock. The tracks, like this
clock, are split down the middle; the "Scatterrap" half is primarily
Jalal's, bring home funky flavor in a style reminiscent of late-70's
Bambaataa as he encourages his listeners to "See," 'Hear," "Taste,"
"Touch," "Smell," and "Reason." The "Home" half is dominated by El-
Hadi, who has a style closer to the older Poets releases; the best
track, "Minority of One," drops some potent conscious rhymes over long-
time Poets percussionist Abu Mustapha's congas. For too long, El-Hadi
raps, the white man has been
...Hiding my story, making a mystery
Showing himself and calling it history
But we know where they're coming from
Minority of one, under the shadow of the gun.
Although they were hard or impossible to find for many years,
most of the Last Poets' old LP's are now available on compact disc.
There's no way to describe what it is the Poets did or do without
listening to it, and these records are a vital part of hip-hop history
and Black history in general.
I've appended a discography of their most notable albums
available on CD, as well as a more detailed LP discography by Jalal
himself, transcribed by Culf from the European release of
"Scatterrap/Home" (the U.S. release omits this discography). If you
want to trace the roots of hip-hop, you owe it to yourself to check
Last Poets -- Compact Disc Discography
The Last Poets (a) The Last Poets (1970) Celluloid Records CEL 6101
The Last Poets This Is Madness (1971) Celluloid Records CEL 6105
Original Last Poets * Right On! (1971) Collectibles COL-CD-6500
Gylan Kain Blue Guerilla Collectibles COL-CD-6501
The Last Poets Chastisement (1972) Celluloid
Lightnin' Rod Hustlers Convention (1973) Oceana/Celluloid 4107-2
The Last Poets At Last (1974) Celluloid
The Last Poets Delights of the Garden (1976) Celluloid CEL 6136
The Last Poets Jazzoetry (1976)+ Celluloid
The Last Poets Oh! My People (1984) Celluloid
Jalal & Grandmaster Mean Machine (12") Celluloid CELD 6205**
The Last Poets Freedom Express (1988) Celluloid
The Last Poets Retrofit (1992)++ Celluloid CELD 6208
The Last Poets One (1993) Celluloid
Umar Bin Hassan Be Bop or Be Dead (1993)AXIOM 314-518 048-2
The Last Poets Holy Terror (1993) P-Vine 2499 (Japan)
The Last Poets Scatterap/Home (1994) Bond Age BRCD 9471
*= Felipe Luciano, Gylan Kain, David Nelson
** The 12" is available on this Celluloid CD, "Roots of Rap Volume 1"
+Jalal's discography lists this as a 1971 release; I don't have a copy & so
can't confirm the date.
++ A remix album -- very funky, but probably part of the reason some of the
Poets are so angry at Celluloid; also contains a remix of "Doriella
Where I have a copy, or catalog info., I list the CD catalog number;
otherwise I can only say that the disc appears on other lists as having
been available on CD. I also have not yet received the import copy of
"Holy Terror" I ordered a few weeks ago, and so have no detailed
information as to who (aside from Oyewole) participated in that recording.
Anyone having more information on the Poets on CD or vinyl, please send
your info to email@example.com; I hope to compile a more thorough
discography, to be posted at net sites such as JazzNet or the cs.uwp.edu
Last Poets Discography -- by Jalal
1. The Last Poets / Self titled / Recorded April 1969 at Impact Sound
Released in April of 1970 The Last Poets album sells over a million copies
by word of mouth and thus put "Rap" on the map.
Produced by Alan Douglas & The Last Poets & East Wind Associates.
Poets: Abiodun Oyewole, Alafia Pudim (a.k.a. Jalal Mansur Nuriddin), Omar
Engineer: Danfort Driffith
2. "This Is Madness" The Last Poets.
Recorded 1971 at Media Sound Studios n.y.c.
Producers: Alan Douglas & Stefan Bright
Cover painting: Abdul Mati (based on a photograph by Bilal Farid)
Engineer: Tony Bongiovi
Poets: Alafia Pudim (a.k.a. Jalal Mansur Nuriddin) & Omar Bin Hassan
3. "Chastisement" The Last Poets 1972-73.
Recorded at Media Sound Studios n.y.c.
Produced by The Last Poets & Stefan Bright
Poets: Jalal Mansur Nuriddin & Sulieman El-Hadi
Percussion: Nilaja, Omanyaki, B, Jalal
Saxophonist: Sam Harkness
Bass: Jox Hall
Engineer: Tony Bonjovi
Cover Art: Jim Wipox
Photographer: Edmund (Majur) Wartkixs
4. "At Last" The Last Poets 1974
Produced by The Last Poets.
Poets: Jalaluddin Mansur Nuriddin, Sulieman El-Hadi, Omar Bin Hassan
Tenor sax: Brother Juice
Alto sax: Claude Laurence
Piano: Casa Burak
Drums: Philip King
Bass: Duke Cleamons
Recorded in a fire house Studio, lower eastside, n.y.c.
5. "Delights Of The Garden" 1976
Recorded at Media Sound Studios n.y.c. & Sound Ideas Studio n.y.c.
Produced by Alan Douglas & The Last Poets
Mastering: Joe Gastuirt, Masterdisk Studios n.y.c.
Cover Art: Abrahim Ben Benu
Photographs: Peter Harron
Art Director: Frank Guana
Chief engineer: Cron St Germaine
Poets: Jalaluddin Mansur Nuriddin, Sulieman El-Hadi
Bass & Guitar: Mann
Bass: Alex Blake
Drums: Bernard Perdie
Conga: Aby Mustapha
Percussion: Jalaluddin Mansur Nuriddin, Sulieman El-Hadi, Abu Mustapha
6. "Oh My People" The Last Poets 1984
Produced by Bill Laswell
Recorded at Evergreen Studios and mixed at RPM by Rob Stevens
Asst Engineer: Hank Rowe
Cover Design: Thi Linh Le
Group photo: Stephen Critchlow
Poets: Sulieman El-Hadi, Jalaluddin Mansur Nuriddin
Musicians: Bernie Worrell
Synthesizer: Ayiele Dieng, Chatan Cowbell, Bill Laswell/DMX AMS
Musicians: Jamal, Abdus Sabor/Bass, Ayiel Dieng/Talking Drums/Congas,
Kenyatte Abdur/Rakman/Congas, Philip Wilson/Cymbals/Percussion
7. "Freedom Express" The Last Poets 1988
Produced by: The Last Poets
Recorded at Brent Black Music Co-Op
Poets: Jalaluddin Mansur Nuriddin, Sulienman El-Hadi
Kenyatta Abdur-Rahman/Congas Wx7/Linwood 5000 + Drums
Jamal Abdus Sabor/Bass
Curtis Lugay Memphis/Lead guitar
Engineered by Sid Bucknor
Arranged by Kenyatte Abdur-Rahman
Mixed by Jalaluddin Mansur Nuriddin
O'D/Black Thighs 1970 Poets: Jalal/Omar
Organ: Buddy Miles
"Long Enough" Last Poets 1981 - Jalal & Sulieman
"Stella Marina" 1984 Working Week, Jalal
"Mean Machine" 1984 Jalal & D.S.T.
"Mean Machine" 1990-91 Jalal & Lugman
"Doriella du Fontaine" 1969
Recorded at Electric Lady Land n.y.c. 12 mix approx.
Lightnin'Rod (a.k.a.Jalal, leader of Last Poets) &
Jimi Hendrix Lightinin'Rod/Jalal
Vocals: Jimi Hendrix/lead (Guitar/Bass)
Released in 1984 as 12" Duck single on the Criminal Label Celluloid
N.Y. (sell-you-into-Avoid-Paying you royalties)
Produced by Alan Douglas
"Jazzoetry" Compilation 1971 Jalal & Omar
"Hustler's Convention" 1973
Lightnin'Rod a.k.a./Jalal leader of The Last Poets
Kool & The Gang
Tina Turner & Ikettes
Produced by Alan Douglas
Recorded and mastered at Media Sound
W. 57th St N.Y.C.
Discography written by Jalauddin Mansur Nuriddin
Transcribed by Culf
YAGGFU FRONT LEAVES MERCURY RECORDS
Raleigh, North Carolina's Yaggfu Front, who first hit the hip
hop scene last year with the singles "Looking For A Contract" and
"Busted Loop," have left Mercury and are currently searching for a new
record deal, according to the group's DJ Assassin.
"We had to step from Mercury because we couldn't agree on
terms as far as pushing our products," Assassin said. "So now we're
just trying to find a label that's really trying to back us and really
trying to help us do what we want to do with our music."
Yaggfu Front's LP, "Action Packed Adventure," which received a
pH Level of 5 in HardCORE, didn't get enough attention from Mercury
and lagged in sales as a result, according to Assassin. The group is
currently shopping both the album and its latest demo to several
"Right now, we're talking to Geffen, Delicious (Vinyl)...we
got a whole slew," Assassin said, "but we don't want to say, really,
or commit to anything. We want to keep things open until we're ready
to do whatever."
The group is looking for a label that's willing to understand
and promote the group's style, which is at time comic and different
from nearly any other group on the scene. Assassin feels they're more
ready to deal with labels because of the experience they had with
Mercury. "It's a lot different from back then. We're a lot older,
and we have more experience with that than we had back then."
THE ATLANTA SCENE
Atlanta has been kinda mellow this summer compared to the
usual. Jack the Rapper was held in Orlando instead of here, and we've
only had a couple of shows come to town. A Tribe Called Quest came
through while touring with the Lollapalooza '94 caravan, and they did
another show just for the heads down at the Warehouse. I wish I could
say that it was a good show, but there were those out to prove they
were roughnecks and that tarnished the evening (a couple bucks, a
couple casualties, 'nuff said).
The Gravediggaz held a release party at the Masquerade that
was sponsored by WRAS 88.5 FM's Rhythm & Vibes and Tha Bomb shows
along with Polygram (props to Don and Dave). It wasn't exactly the
bomb party but it was free, so you can only complain so much.
As for record release news, Ichiban has given Kwame a new
opportunity with his new album "Incognito". Conquest records is
planning to release a new SnoMan LP and the debut album from Layel of
Nexx Phase (check Marley Marl's "In Control Vol. 2"). Congratulations
to boy wonder -- it's been a long time for this kid. Reign of Terror
is close to inking a deal with Straight to the Bottom records (based
in Miami). Kaper/RCA is trying again with kid rappers K.R.O.N.I.C. by
releasing a new EP and single "Summertime". Local independent label
Ogana records has released the single "Nigerian Rhyme Shoota" from
Doomsday, as they try to fuse hardcore rap and Nigerian styles.
In the rumor mill, I have been hearing that some members of a
local hip-hop group (you've heard of them too) have gotten themselves
into a bit of trouble. I'll let you know who if I can confirm the
story. On the lighter side, I met a white GZA (from Wu-Tang)
impersonator. It was a definite trip, I couldn't believe that I kept
a straight face as he explained how he was in the Wu-Tang (come to
think of it, I can't believe *he* kept a straight face).
Steven J Juon
FLASH'S VIDEO REVIEW
Beastie Boys, "Sure Shot"
pH Level - 2
Sabotage this ain't. In fact despite being a great song it's
a lousy video. Their lips are not in sync with the lyrics more than
half of the time, and the flips between playgrounds/pools and pimps in
tuxedos does nothing for me. Play like Pharcyde and Pass It By.
Big Joe Krash (KRS-One), "Break the Chain"
pH Level - 4
Whatever words Krash's mouth are forming during the chorus,
they AREN'T the chorus cause they AREN'T in sync. His lips move on
and on and on and... it's painfully obvious. Nuff respect to Kyle
Baker for the phat drawing style and Lawrence Parker for the lyrics,
but this looks like a rush job.
Black Sheep, "Without a Doubt"
pH Level - 5
Interesting video that comes off playful without being silly.
It has some cool funhouse camera angles as they roll down the ave. and
doors that lead directly from the party to the street (interesting
allusion that). Also, the room where Dres lounges in a chair seems to
be flying through space. This jammie comes off totally 180 degrees
from the tightly plotted and shot "Similak Child" video, and it's a
Brand Nubian, "Word Is Bond"
pH Level - 4
What's up with Lord Jamar's hair? Short at the beginning,
long dreads in the middle, short at the end! Are they tied up in a
bun at the back of his head? Anyway, it's a cool-out party song and
video, and as far as I'm concerned this one is in there.
Craig Mack, "Flava In Ya Ear"
pH Level - 6
Regardless of how you feel about his flow, the two Craig's
(Craig Henry directing) have hooked up a video which is NICE! Despite
numerous quick cuts between locations, Craig is always in sync. Very
cool lighting effects (nuff respect to the cinematographer) that
create beams of anti-matter and surreal urban worlds. Like the planet
behind him and the buildings around him, Craig Mack is larger than
life in this video. The camera angle they use when Craig shovels
graves would make my film professor proud and the Ryzarector jealous!
The one belongs in the archive of all time classic hip-hop videos, NO
Da Bush Babees, "We Run Things"
pH Level - 4
Is this the Hamptons? Wherever they are, it looks like a
quiet suburban park to me, very removed from your typical rap video
ghetto backdrop. Good, lush green colors set the tone and accentuate
this well laid out video. Not much plot here, but who needs it?
Da Youngstas, "Hip Hop Ride"
pH Level - 3
Considering that I freeze my ass off this time of year when I
walk outdoors, this video seems a lil too late for summer. Yet there
they are, macking at the pool to a disproportional amount of thinly
clad sepia-toned honies. Just a quick check here -- who the HELL are
they pointing the camera at when they mention Monie Love? That's NOT
her but that's what they make it look like. Despite these flaws
(especially the overuse of skinz) it's a decent cool-out party video.
Digable Planets, "9th Wonder"
pH Level - 5
Somebody tell me how the HELL they made this video pop scratch
and flick like an 8th grade science film, cause I love it! Hard to
believe that the DP's could walk around New York (and Myrtle Ave.)
without being noticed, but I guess they are "Cool Like Dat". The old
man is cool, too. His sun glasses reflecting the world around him and
hiding the inner depths of time and space his soul must hold. A
definite pHat video.
pH Level - 6
Now THIS is how it should be done. A good video should build
on a theme created by the song and translate it into three-dimensional
reality. So in this joint, they catch wreck like the wrecking balls
they swing around on. You can almost feel the walls at this abandoned
construction (or deconstruction) site shaking down as the funk track
blasts. Not to mention ANY video that can stay in sync with Chip-Fu
Ill Al Skratch, "I'll Take Her"
pH Level - 5
While Brian McKnight croons in the studio, Al Skratch cruises
and Big Ill pounds the pavement. Classic moment is when Ill catches
the eye of a girl -- while exchanging pounds with her boyfriend! As
Ill walks away her gaze trails longingly after, the boyfriend starts
riffing, and she tells him to SHOVE IT. Better treat them ladies
right fellaz, cause Ill Al Skratch is on the creep in your
O.C., "Time's Up"
pH Level - 6
"Do not adjust your TV set," because it's about to be ON.
Until now, there has been nothing quite like Jeru's intense video for
"Come Clean." Well, here it is. Heads nod in the cipher, and O.C.
steps out of the shadows into the spotlight (VERY APPROPRIATE). Great
shots of the DJ spinning wax, and good sparing use of the occasional
prop (sucker MC, floating dollar bills, etc). And how can you NOT
love the cameo clip of Slick Rick? This video is PURE BUTTER.
Pete Rock and CL Smooth, "I Got a Love"
pH Level - 6
Journey with the Chocolate Boy Wonder and the Mecca Don from
Babylon back to the lush tropical green of Jamaica, one of the
birthplaces of hip-hop. Cool contrast between black and white clips
and color clips in this video. Because of the letterbox format (the
cropping at the top and bottom of the screen), it would seem to have
been shot originally in a wide-screen movie format. If it looks this
good on my shitty old TV, I'd like to see how it looks on the big
screen, for real.
Rappin 4-Tay, "Playaz Club"
pH Level - 4
Yes the video has some fine women, but they are also well
attired and seem to be part of the environment, not just inflatable
props. In fact, to me this song and video seems to be the epitome of
being a playa -- fly suits and fine girls who aren't skeezers. Nuff
respect for these players.
Sir Mix-a-Lot, "Ride"
pH Level - 2
Mix, I love you like a homie but those furs you wear have GOT
to go. And why did you make a video for THIS wack song? This HYPER-
sexed futuristic-fashioned (and FASHION) video does NUTTIN for me.
Wu-Tang Clan, "Can It All Be So Simple"
pH Level - 5
A quiet, introspective video that presents pictures and lets
you draw your own conclusions. Some clips look like the lap of
luxury, and some look like back in the day, but is there any
difference? Or can it be that it WAS all so simple then...
(transcribed by Flash)
You lack the minerals and vitamins
Irons and the niacins
Fuck who that I offend
rappers sit back I'm about to begin
bout foul-talking squawk
Never even walked the walk
More/less destined to get tested
never been arrested
My album will manifest many things that I saw did or heard about
or told first-hand, never word of mouth
What's in the future for the fusion in the changer
rappers are in danger, who will use wits to be a remainder
When the missile is aimed, to blow you out of the frame
Some will keep their limbs in, some will be maimed
The same suckers with the gab about killer instincts
but turned bitch and knowin damn well they lack
In this division, the connoisseur
Crackin your head with a four by four
Realize sucka, I be the comer like Noah
always sendin you down, perpetratin facadin what you consider an image
To me, this is just a scrimmage
I feel I'm stone
Not cause about throwin my cap cocked
The more emotion I put in to it, the harder I rock
Those who pose lyrical, but really ain't true I feel
*Their time's limited, hard rocks too* (Slick Rick)
Speakin in tongues
About what you did but you never done
And admit it you bit it cause the next man came platinum
Behind it, I find it ironic
So I researched and analyzed
Most write about stuff they fantasize
I'm fed up with the bull
on this focus of weeded clips and glocks gettin cocked
And wax not being flipped
It's the same ol', same ol', just strainin from the anal
the contact, is not complex to vex
So why you pushin it?
Why you lyin for I know where you live
I know your folks, you was a sucka as a kid
Your persona's drama, that you acquired in high school in acting class
Your whole aura is Plexiglas
What's her face told me you shot this kid last week in the park
that's a lie, you was in church with your moms
See I know, yo, slow your roll, give a good to go
Guys be lackin in this thing called rappin just for dough
Of course we gotta pay rent, so money connects
But uh, I'd rather be broke and have a whole lot of respect
It's the principle of it, I get a rush when I bust
some dope lines on roll, that maybe somebody will quote
That's what I consider real, in this field of music
Instead of putting brain cells to work they abuse it
Everybody's either crime related or sexual!
I'm here to make a difference
Besides all the riffin the tracks are not stickin
Rappers, stop flippin
For those who pose lyrical but really ain't true I feel
*Their time's limited, hard rocks too*
This time: _Genocide and Juice_ by The Coup
Next time: _Blowout Comb_ by Digable Planets
_Zingalamaduni_ by Arrested Development
_Black Business_ by Poor Righteous Teachers
Last time: _Muse Sick-N-Hour Mess Age_ by Public Enemy
_Illmatic_ by Nas
_Hard To Earn_ by Gang Starr
_Be Bop or Be Dead_ by Umar Bin Hassan
Catch Ups: _Tricks of The Shade_ by The Goats
_Enta Da Wu Tang (36 Chambers)_ by Wu Tang Clan
_Cypress Hill_ by Cypress Hill
Distinctiveness: Oh, that's for sure.
Dopeness Rating: Oh my god (is it real?). Phat+.
Rap Part: I admit it. I'm jockin'. Phat+
Sounds: I'm still jockin'. Phat+
Predictions: If there is any justice in the world they'll go
Rotation Weight: Oh, just on and on.
Message: Um. Why, yes, as a matter of fact.
Tracks: 14 at 52:38
Label: Wild Pitch
Producers: Boots for the Mau Mau Collective
Profanity: Here a motherf*cker. There a motherf*cker. Every
which where a motherf*cker.
The Fall Hip Hop season has begun with The Coup.
The Coup is: Boots, E-Roc and Pam The Funktress. The complete
complement of musicians is Moose Patterson on keyboards; Charles
Stella and Caz on guitar; Elijah Baker and Keith MacArthur on bass
guitar; Jeff Chambers on Stand-Up Bass; Raymond Riley on drums; The
Sweet Meat Section on horns (John Middleton on trumpet, Mike Rinta on
trombone and Carl Green on tenor sax); Renatta Archie on violin and
viola; Alisha Calhoun and Lynn Sally on violin; with backing vocals by
The Two Sisters, Tanya, Deon Jones, Anthony Tibbs, Jazz Lee Alston,
Suga-T, E-Roc and Lalisa Johnson.
The Coup is: stoopid mad phat.
The Coup is: the group that had the best politically-minded album for
last year with _Kill My Landlord_.
The Coup is: even better this time around in 1994 with _Genocide and
The Coup is: my new favorite group.
The Coup. I hear you asking "Who the f*ck are they?" Brother/sister,
where have you *been*? The Coup is the group that released _Kill My
Landlord_ last year. This was, without any doubt whatsoever in my
mind, the best CD of last year and, for that matter, the best
politically-minded album to drop in many, many years. Led by Boots
and his incredible ear for a sharp lyric, they just tore sh*t up.
And now they're back, busy proving the sophomore jinx to be little
more than a silly superstition. And in some ways, they're even
better than they were before. This time around they manage to pay a
little bit more attention to the muzak behind their lyrical steak
without compromising on that end at all. The result is an even
stronger, more coherent vision... and a damn funky album all around.
The Fall season is off to a good start. Let's get started.
We open with "Intro (G-Nut Talks Sh*t From The Gut)," the obligatory
introduction. Whatever. Not quite a minute later and we're into "Fat
Cats, Bigga Fish." This is Boots at his best. Nice lyrics, serious
flow and a truly FONKY beat. An even more impressive opening shot
that "Dig It" was on _Kill My Landlord_.
"And promenade out to take up a collection
I got game like I read the directions"
This time we follow the adventures of Boots-as-pickpocket as his
normal day takes an odd turn.
"The streetlight reflects off the piss on the ground
which reflects off the hamburger sign that turns round
which reflects off the chrome of the BMW
which reflects off the fact that I'm broke
Now what the f*ck is new?"
"Didn't want to f*ck up the come up
so I smiled, winked my eye, said
'Hey how's it hangin' guy?'
Bumped into his shoulder
but he passed with no reaction
Damn, this motherf*cker had hella Andrew Jacksons"
"Story just begun, but you already know
And no need to get down...
Sh*t I'm already low"
After a funny adventure at Burger King, Boots meets his cousin and
takes the opportunity to sneak into a ritzy party in order to make
some quick bucks. Much to his surprise, he learns the true meaning of
being a hustler... on a much grander scale then he'd ever imagined.
"Fresh, dressed like a million bucks
I be the flyest motherf*cker in an afro and a tux
My arm is at a right angle up, silver tray in my hand
'May I interest you in some caviar, ma'am?'
My eyes shoot 'round the room there and here
noticin' the diamonds in the chandelier
Background Barry Manilow, "Copa Cabana"
and a strong-ass scent of stogie's from Havana"
"Mr Coke said to Mr Mayor:
'You know we have a process like Ice-T's hair.
We put up the funds for your election campaign
and oh, um, waiter can you bring the champagne?
Our real estate firm says opportunities arousing
to make some condos out of low-income housing
Immediately we need some media heat
to say that gangs run the street
and then we bring in the police fleet
harass and beat everybody till they look inebriated
when we buy the land motherf*ckers will appreciate it
Don't worry about the Urban League or Jesse Jackson
My man that owns Marlboro donated a fat sum.'"
This flows quite naturally into the next track, "Pimps," starring
David Rockefeller and John-Paul Getty showing off their ability to
make their voices "like authentic rappers" over some funky strings (in
this case, like Boots and E-Roc). Donald Trump even stops by to annoy
everyone by doing his reggae imitation.
"Well, if you're blind as Helen Keller
you can see I'm David Rockefeller
So much cash, up in my bathroom there's a Ready Teller"
"Don't let me get my flex on
Do some gangsta sh*t
Make the army go to war for Exxon
Long as the money flow, I'll be makin' dough
Welcome to my little pimp school
How you gonna beat me at this game?
I made the rules"
"'Why don't you rap for us?'
'No, no, no, no'
'Come on boy I did mine'
'It's so... tribal'
'Well, very well'
'But hold my martini...
I have to do those hand gestures.'"
"Lay you out like linoleum floors
I'm gettin' rich off petroleum wars
controllin' you whores
makin' you eat top rhymin'
while I eat shrimp
y'all motherf*ckers is simps
I'm just a pimp"
After The Trumpster drives everyone away, the track fades into "Takin'
These," the current release from _Genocide and Juice_.
"See, it's a family thing
So don't even trip
My cousin JD got the nine
and my momma got the extra clip"
This one comes off a bit too relaxed after the last two tracks, but
gets a few extra props for subverting Disney favorite _1001
Dalmations_ with its right-on-time chorus (think hard and you'll know
what I'm talking about).
"And if you don't like it
take two to the chin
and show me to the kitchen
'cause my kids is gettin' thin
See I don't have to talk sh*t
about packin' a gat, in fact,
you could get bucked
by any other motherf*cker where I live at
Money here is crystal clear punk
F*ck that fiscal year junk
Meet the pistol grip pump
Pistol grip, uh, meet Mr Rockefeller
We finta take him out
do him like Ol' Yeller"
I like it. And E-Roc does a more-than-nice job on this track.
"Now I know you got nailed
And if my glock fails
take a sip of this molotov cocktail"
We continue the relaxed-but-busy musical theme "Hip 2 The Skeme."
"How many days can I stretch this box of grits?"
"I know the US economy
And I could run it
I'm 'bout to make these four dollars
into four hundred
Ain't nuttin' happenin' but the serious gank
While they got billions in the bank
we just got money on the dank
And when we got fresh rims
we on top
On top of what when the kitchen table's on hock"
Again, E-Roc shows that he's here for more than his choice of
hairstyle. He's much more of a reasonable presence this time around
than he was on _Kill My Landlord_... definitely a difficult job, what
with Boots just running over the mic like a Mac truck.
"See I'm a motherf*cker that's done some dirt
for my meal ticket
but I learned quick
you gots to deal with it
Well I did for twenty two f*ckin' years
You damn straight my homiez relate
when we all shed tears
And it's clear to my ears
I had to learn that knowledge
'Cause after twelfth grade I had to say
"If everybody in the hood had a PhD
You'd say, 'That doctor flipped that burger hella good for me'
200,000 brothers marchin' one mind one place to go
Ain't no revolution... they just walkin' to the liquor store
Here take a swig'a, so it's quicker bro, the nigger-o
just wants to get thru the rigmarole, I've been here before"
Anyway, the band takes us out and on into "Gunsmoke." The muzak takes
a sudden bouncier and funkier turn.
"I be havin' homicide runnin' thru my mind
Don't know what's up with me
Sh*t f*ck with me all the time
Eatin' at my spine
A motherf*cker in my prime
How you gonna get yours
when you too busy gettin' mine?"
"Skeletons deep down in the ocean
'Cause them slave ships had that three-stop motion
Face down floatin' on the Mississippi River
Burnin' crosses and motherf*ckers sayin'
'Die Nigga! Die Nigga!'"
In fact, it works pretty well.
"I said f*ck the whole judge and the jury
My mind got delirious, my eyes got blurry
had my uncle strapped to the chair
Breathin' in gas
Breathin' out carbon monoxide
Whole system stank like a load of bowel
'Cause ain't no billionaires on the murder trial
Make the ghettos concentration camps every mile
So march your ass to the gas chamber single file"
And so we end the first half of _Genocide and Juice_ with the
forty-second "This One's A Girl," a Pam The Funktress scritch-scratch
fest. Not a bad one at all. Add a few more series like the first
nine seconds and you'd have a very nice bit of DJ fodder.
This leaves us with "The Name Game" wherein the Coup explains a bit
about the industry and their place in it.
"Every where we go
you know especially in the 'O'
We hear 'Coup! Coup!'
We know we got love for show
But even more when they see us
on B E and T and M T and V
but me and E can't pay the P G and E
Power come from the barrel of a bucka
I use the mic so that we ain't met the same motherf*cker
'Cause your sh*t can go gold
and the only cash you got is the silver kind that don't fold"
"F*ck the videos with the Benz's and the cellular phones
Spendin' hundreds like quarters
The Benz is their partner's
The money's on loan
and, um, the cellular number you've reached is out of order"
Nice, nice, nice. I kinda like it.
"I'm scrappin' fronts off like plaque
I come realistic like Radio Shack"
"360 Degrees" follows. It uses the same laid-back groove as the intro
track and features the voice of Jazz Lee Alston. She sort of does a
sing-songy bit here, talkin' poetry.
"Just say no to drugs
But say yes to what?"
I gives it dap.
That brings us to "Hard Concrete." This is E-Roc's time to shine and
I must say that he does manage to be just a little bit more than plain
"Tragedy is an everyday thing
Put on the video game
Sip some Tang if I can stand the pain
You need the knowledge from the street
Now watch me learn it
I went to get a job but
too young for a work permit
Don't come my way
I might just have to gaffle ya
They say we're growin' up fast
But we just dying faster"
Anyway, this brings us to "Santa Rita Weekend." This track guest
stars Spice 1 and E-40.
"Just sittin' up on the top bunk
watchin' the cell block row"
Nice muzak on this one, if a bit straightforward. For some reason,
this song manages to be somewhat depressing somehow (yeah, I know, but
trust me on this one). Must be the soundz.
"Some time you do your sh*t
and ain't no second tries
there's hella motherf*ckers I recognize"
A bit less depressing is "Repo Man." I smell a popular track here.
"Oh, I be scrappin'
scratchin' for bones
I got the cellular phone
I just picked up on loan
Keepin' up with them Jones'
put my ass in debt"
Besides, how can you not like the chorus? I mean, really.
"I gives a f*ck how much bench press
If you ain't pushin' up that 25% interest"
"He gives a f*ck if youse a momma
with three toddlers and an infant
He'll take the TV and the carpet
and the living room that's stain-resistant"
And except for the forty-second "Outro," all we have left is
"Interrogation" with Osagyefo and Point Blank Range. This is not at
all a bad way to go out.
"I ain't seen sh*t
I ain't heard nathan
I don't know what happened
I don't speak pig latin
I'm a motherf*ckin' true
and it's us against you
So f*ck Starsky, Hutch
and Inspector Cleauseau"
"You want peace motherf*cker?
Raise up out the hood"
Not bad at all.
So... where were we?
Oh, yes, the bottom line.
The bottom line? Easy. Run, don't walk. Run, don't jog. Run, don't
pimp-step. Run to your local Hip Hop distributor and pick this up.
Basically, this is why I started writing reviews in the first place: I
wanted to be able to share dope finds like The Coup with the rest of
the Hip Hop Nation. And whoot... here it is.
Let us recap.
The Coup is: stoopid mad phat.
The Coup is: a group that has completely mastered the mystery of the
True Lyric(tm) and tamed the Wild Beat(tm).
The Coup is: all that and a little bit more.
The Coup is: the group who just released the next album you should
buy... and if you slept like Snow White on apples and didn't buy _Kill
My Landlord_ last year, buy it too.
*That's* the bottom line. Your duckets will not be wasted.
But that's just one Black man's opinion--what's yours?
(C) Copyright 1994, Charles L Isbell, Jr.
All my Hip Hop reviews are available on the World Wide Web. Use the
URL: http://www.ai.mit.edu/~isbell/isbell.html and follow the
Section 3 -- THREE
**************THE OFFICIAL HARDC.O.R.E. REVIEW SECTION***************
HardC.O.R.E. pH scale
6/pHat - EE-YOW! A hip-hop Classic!
5/pHunky - Definitely worth the price of admission.
4/pHine - Solid. Few weaknesses here.
3/pHair - Some potential, but not fully realized
2/pHlat - Falls well short of a quality product
1/pHukkit - Get that Vanilla Lice shit OUTTA HERE!
David A Goldberg
"The Bomb Hip Hop Compilation"
(1994 Bomb Entertainment / PGA Records)
A Brief Introduction to the Bay Area Underground...
San Francisco's KUSF Radio (90.3 FM) comes in between walls of
static and signal overlaps from neighboring radio stations. Your
Walkman reception depends on which way you happen to be looking,
whether you are moving and on how much local interference there is
around you. But it's always a treat to hear hip hop straining through
the spectrum, especially when the lyrics you hear aren't of the
playa/pimp variety pioneered by Too Short and carried on by the likes
of Coug Nut, Get Low Playaz, JT Tha Bigga Figga, E40 and their
immediate set of proteges, labelmates and rivals. Topping off my
Sunday afternoon hip hop joy, these lyrics weren't from Hiero-related
artists, the DU family, Paris' post-Dre creations or any of the half-
baked "MCs" still fleeing the wreckage of Hammer's BustIt Records.
Coming through the crackles and whines was distinctly Bay Area-
styled hip hop that represented artists featured on the Bomb Hip Hop
Compilation. The KUSF studio was full of interviews, freestyles,
faulty mics and sometimes barely-audible backing tracks that sounded
just lovely in the middle of the hiss -- *underground*, you know? It
reminded me of old WBLS and KISS FM tapes sent to me by friends in New
York back in the 80s. The Bay's underground hip hop shares with New
York a passion for the dusty breaks, jazz-infected or deep-crate loops
and battles for rhyme supremacy. At the same time, since BA MCs
aren't coming from the same environment and are outside the
gravitational field of New York's highly-competitive trend engine...
...my complaint is the Bay is hella fresh
and a mess a people be brainwashed by the publicity of New York City
we gotta make our own beginnin' - fuck winnin'
the hearts of those who got the jump-start on us
but I got trust in my Bay Area folks...
- Bored Stiff, "Therapy"
The same could be said of BA "playas" but their whole vibe is
grounded in 'hood-claiming hustling, a mellowed-out gangsta vibe that
owes more to the cultural similarities and differences between the Bay
Area and Los Angeles than it does to New York. The Bay Area's hip hop
underground, though connected to NYC in spirit and ingredients, is
different from its other aboriginal manifestations including the
colonial projects of Jive and Tommy Boy Records. The best and truest
of the Bay Area underground reflects a deep awareness of its situation
and makes no fantasies about it. This situation is often
fundlessness, leading to a lack of recording resources and
possibilities for gigs. I feel that a BA "playa" would go back to
hustling if rhyming ceased to pay off while an underground artist
would keep pushing, working two or three part-times and hacking the
four track late at night.
This leads to a key difference between the underground and the
rest. The brightest artists in the underground recognize that their
struggles to eat, make rent, deal with crooked record labels and
*still* make good product set them apart from their (sometimes) drug-
financed and major label-backed peers. As a result, their passion for
the rhyme and the rhythm comes through in refreshing ways, yielding
lyrics and grooves that can be far more complicated, subtle and
insightful than much of what the rest of the art has to offer... and
- Jigmastas, "Execution"
"...blindfold me in the field, standin 50 feet back / bows and arrows
stick my marrows / plus the guns and the gats / and the bats and the
sticks cuz the rhyme is mad thick / if it really ain't all that then
why the fuck you on my dick, nigga?..."
This cut is by a New York expatriate and serves as a teaser
for what turned out to be a disappointing first side. It's battle
lyrics from the Treach school of structure over a solid kick-kick-
snare beat, nice organ loop and good DJ work, but covers familiar
ground and delivers no new levels of energy.
- Charizma and Peanut Butter Wolf, "Just Like a Test"
"...so wrap the rhymes up punk and cue the tape / if rappin' was pool
I'd hit the eight ball in off the break / yo, I collect dough for what I
kick though / I'm not in a fraternity so don't sleep at a show..."
A nice b-boom BAP loop with four-note vibes that gets tired
real quick over fragmented lyrics that compare skills to shoes, warns
gold-diggers away and make vague threats. I tend to fast-forward when
my batteries are fresh.
- Mental Prizm, "Strawberry Moon"
"...so with the beauty of my cultures within me / I have much respect
for the lady right beside me ... / ...through the thick and thin, to the
very end / disrespect my squaw and I'm scalpin' fools by hundreds..."
Progressive lyrics about respecting women on the streets and
in the bedroom but the beat is way too hard and loud to go with the
subject matter. If you're gonna seduce with rose petals and Coltrane
then leave the 80s battle break beats in the crate.
- Eyedl Mode, "End of the Innocence"
"...diluted concentration egotistical persuasion / grips the unseen
thoughts and I'm mistaken is it / what is this in the air? / solidified
consciousness always present but unaware..."
The off-beat stagger of the rhythms, pauses of silence, mix
shifts and left/right channel overdubs are interesting, but dude's
muttered baritone lyrics don't fall into the mix quite right. He
obviously has a lot of ideas and with his fragmented poetry comes off
better than PM Dawn but not as tight as Q-Tip or Plugs 1 & 2 when it
comes to being abstract.
- Dereliks, "No G'Nus"
"...a game of dominos? / Keep your drama hoes / you know the nose knows
/ it only takes two scoops but that's the grape nuts you chose / so
don't criticize my friends or my built or what's in my silk boxies / cuz
I'm drinkin' milk now..."
A light-hearted song with good energy. Unfortunately I can't
imagine hearing this outside the context of a compilation.
- The Nugs, "Pump"
"Now pump your fist or you might get dissed / don't get me mad or get me
I try to avoid outright disses but this is wack with
simplistic rhymes that will annoy you. On the upside, the production
is nicely textured with screams, noises and drones. A radio DJ could
use the second half for live freestyles, shout-outs and roll calls but
the Nugs fill it up with shout-outs to every city they can think of.
- Black Alicious, "Lyric Fathom"
"...come get a little array of the skill supreme / wanna defeat me, my
nigga you should kill the dream / the noise the boys the gals everybody
/ when I drop fat styles it ain't your simple blase bla ladi da / di
average Joe Simpleton with a average flow / hafta go / afta yo / jugular
/ then shit get uglier..."
Side two makes this compilation worth the price of admission.
Kicking it off is a crew up from LA with *mad skills*. Skef is the
kind of kid who could read this sentence and put rhymes where there
were none. Once you deconstruct this track it becomes the greatest
run-on sentence in history. No more jocking, this is PHAT.
- Homeliss Derelix, "Fuck You"
"...fuck black-ass students who could get better grades an' / fuck the
stupid ass who made the California raisins / seems like they're black
and as a matter of fact, fuck anybody else who made some shit like
This track was written, according to the rhymer, for those
moods where you want to tell everything to fuck off. Dope jazz swing
and a simple style that fits the fuck this-fuck that list he runs
down. The treats come when you listen to how he structures what
should be fucked.
- Mystick Journeymen, "Swing"
"...I'm squashin' your mental games / as I slay your wicked tongue as
you hemorrhage in the flames / you're Tampax on wax and your period's
almost over / so I know you wanna trudge through the weeds with this
A deep hypnotic track from this deeply-local duo. My opinon's
biased cuz I've seen them live, accapella and with music backing them,
rhyming for battles or first-person critiques of child abuse. Their
rhymes run over drums, horns and flute like water over rocks.
- Madchild featuring DJ Q-Bert, "Pregnant"
"...well here's a little story I got to tell / about two bad b-boys with
big hopes and dreams / we drive across the country just to step on the
scene / I signed the dotted line but I guess I'm a dunce / cuz I been
livin' in my car for about six months..."
This is good work with Q-Bert breakin' down "gimme a chance,
man I know I could rock it..." The bassline throbs under nice whining
horns and sweet pianos. Lyrics are solid but a bit overshadowed by
the heavyness of the beat, breaking down the realities of getting a
deal and living dedicated to hip hop with precision not heard since
Tribe's "The Business."
- Bored Stiff, "Therapy"
"You ain't a MC if you ain't sayin' anything of any significance to
anyone / everyone / needs to rethink what they think's the beat / maybe
if you listen to the lyrics you would think it's weak / it's easy being
hard / what's even harder is being yourself / no one else could be more
Six skilled MCs who's lyrics range from deep introspection to
razor-sharp criticism. Production is excellent, samples unique, DJ work
like the perfect amount of spice in a good meal. They get fat rewinds
and I'm fiending for their basement and demo tapes. Easily the high
point of the compilation.
- Total Devastation, "Part Time Assassin"
"...so pop the clip and put the silencer on the gun / we're on the very
next plane to Washington / get off the plane and the feds are jockin' me,
yo / I'm on a mission, there's nothin' stoppin' me so..."
This is gangsta bravado and studio fearlessness taking out
various drug kingpins. Over a huge beat, they detail a hit on a
street dealer and a shootout with the CIA but fail to tell us how he
got through white house security to cap the president. Nice audio
collage of gun/death hip hop references in the breaks.
- The Product Pushers, "The Rap Race"
An instrumental with sample collages critiquing the state of
the art, slamming twisted promoters and fucked up record charts. A
nice little beat that fills out the tape nicely.
*CONCLUSION AND HIP HOP CRITIC'S BEATDOWN AVOIDANCE STATEMENT*
The thing about a compilation of unsigned artists is that it
is not a full representation of what they might be capable of if given
the studio time, performance opportunities and critique. My opinions
of the work on the Bomb Hip Hop Compilation are restricted to these
tracks only and in most cases should not be taken as eternal damnation
or praise cuz what goes up can come down and a full belly can make
one's skills fall off real fast.
pH Level - 4/pHine
BOOGIE MONSTERS, "Riders Of The Storm: The Underwater Album"
In a world of gangstas, pimps, hoes, and hardrocks, it is
always refreshing to hear a group not trying to do anything but have
fun and put out good hip-hop. Up step the Boogie Monsters to the mic.
The only thing I don't like about this album is that the one
kids voice is processed/altered in some way, and I have never liked
this. Didn't like it when Pete Nice did it, and I didn't like it when
Tupac did it(but then again, I don't like Tupac, but that's another
story). With that out of the way, let's go on to the good things
about the album.
First off, the production by D! is solid throughout the entire
album (the artists only produce "Mark Of The Beast"). Lyrically,
these kids have more fun on the mic than most rappers out right now,
something missing from hip-hop. Their flow is tight and always on
beat. One other very commendable point to be made is that there is no
cursing on this album (well, maybe one "shit", but I can't remember
where, which means its close enough). It is the kind of album you
could rock with your moms in the car (unless your moms is like mine
and just refuses to listen to any of that "rap nonsense"). The pace
is mostly laid back, but not too laid back. Their subject matter
ranges from chilling with the honies, to rocking parties, to hanging
out on the block, to how the Devil is trying to take over the world
(there is a heavy religious influence throughout this album, done very
If you're looking for 40s, blunts, glocks, and hoes, this is
NOT the album for you. If you're looking for good hip-hop, this album
*is* for you. Stand out cuts on the album include "Jugganauts",
"Boogie", "Muzic Appreciation", "Honeydips in Gotham", "Strange",
"Bronx Bombas", well, you get the idea. Every hip-hop fan out there
needs to thank the Boogie Monsters for putting some of the fun back
pH Level - 4/pHine
COMMON SENSE, "Resurrection"
What do Masta Ace, Gangstarr and Common Sense have in common?
Mediocre debut albums, slamming sophomore albums.
Don't get me wrong, I liked "Can I Borrow a Dollar?" Though
the rhyming was a bit annoying at times, the production was okay and
somewhat "ahead of its time" given that both Nikki Nicole (for Sweet
Sable) and Jermaine Dupri (for Da Brat) jacked beats used on that
album. And probably some other producers that I've since forgotten.
The big change in Common Sense came with the single "Soul By the
Pound" where Common dazzled critics with his lyrics on the remix. The
slept on B-side "Can I Bust?" was so fat that I still get requests for
that song today.
With Resurrection, producers No ID and Y-Not dunk the funk and
get razzed with the jazz. From the piano loop on the first song,
"Resurrection" to the live piano on the last track "Pop's Song", this
is some fat ass jazzy sh*t. I'd put it somewhere between Premier and
Digable Planets in terms of how the samples are used. But song for
song, this has some of the best produced music of the year -- probably
back to 1993.
I'd say this reminds a lot of what Dred Scott's "Breakin'
Combs" could have been like if he had a slammin' album instead of the
ok, but disjointed LP he put out.
The one element that comes through this album is the drum
loops. This may not seem like much, but there are some crisp, hard
and clean drum hitting on this album which goes a long way to making
literal "beats" that drive the song. The one thing I find missing
from the West coast/Dre sound are fat drum loops. But the same way
ATCQ used bass on the "Low End Theory", Y-Not and No ID incorporate
percussion. Call it the "High Hat, Snare Theory".
Lyrically, Common Sense has improved his skills quite a bit.
People have already noted the great metaphor that Common uses on "I
Used to Love H.E.R." but that's not the extent of his abilities. The
only complaint? Brother comes off beat too much without coming back
on. Take a lesson from Masta Ace or Saafir.
"I Used to Love H.E.R." The first single is a fine choice.
The beat is jazzy smooth, but the real sh*t here is the lyrics. HER
refers to Hip Hop and Common is able to take this metaphor from old
school through the gangsta era in terms of how hip hop has grown and
both progressed and de-gressed. Great song.
"Book of Life." The intro seems mellow enough until the real
beat kicks in. Deep bass laced by drums heavily thrashed along by a
ride cymbal. Definitely a head bopper. Not sure what the lyrics are
about, though I suspect it's about hip hop and it's saving graces.
"In My Own World." The album features the dynamic duo of
producers No ID and Y Not with guest appearances, and No ID gets his
on this cut. The cut has a playful touch to it, mainly flavored by a
xylophone loop with a sample from Large Professor goin' "Yeah, yeah
now check the method." Phat. Plus No ID is cool. Peep this:
No time to get all excited
just write it from the inside,
let the pen slide,
the ink on the papyrus,
come, understand this..."
Boy's got a laid back voice, but a good flow...we need to hear
more from him.
"Chapter 13." As for Y-Not, he gets his on here. The track
should be familiar to Akineyle fans -- it's from one of those 10
second teasers that producers annoyingly throw onto albums. Well, in
the tradition of "93 Interlude" and "Runaway Slave" comes Chapter 13
referring to bankruptcy and avoiding it. The track is lighthearted,
mainly relying on vibes and some nice horns. Y-Not is the sh*t
too...VERY GOOD skills. For those who remember the B-side to "Soul by
the Pound" will remember Y-Not on "Can I Bust?"
So what's your name?
Y Not, I own a mansion and a yacht...
"Maintain." My favorite on an album with 'nuff fatness. This
is clearly a made-for-party jam, as the chorus reveals. But the drum
beat, while nothing you haven't heard before, works well with a dope
piano loop. You gotta hear it to know what I'm saying. Common Sense
keeps the party live...yup. My only question is what is this with the
Chinese being like a peon?
This is one of the best albums of the year thus far, and I
seriously doubt it'll be dropped from my list of top 5 albums unless
someone knows something about the rest of 94 that I don't. Phat
lyrics, phat music. Tight product all around. Pick it up, pick it
up, pick it up...
pH Level - 6/pHat
CRAIG MACK, "Project: Funk Da World"
Before I even go into the review, I want to send a big FUCK
YOU to Bad Boy Entertainment for leaving 2 joints off of the Craig
Mack vinyl, and *8* off of the B.I.G. vinyl! That's really fucked up!
How can you not put the title track on the wax, at the least?!?! Now
that I have that off my chest, we can move on to the review.
After all the noise generated by "Flava In Ya Ear", this had
to be one of the most highly anticipated albums of the year (I even
had a kid who didn't know me from Adam come up to me in a parking lot
when I was playing a tape with "Flava..." on it last summer, and ask
me if that was the whole album!). I have to admit, when I first
listened to this album I was disappointed. I thought "Flava..." was
dope, and then I heard Pete Rock cut the hell out of "Get Down" on
Pirate Radio, but after hearing those joints and getting home and
cracking open the album, I was left thinking of what else I could use
that tape I put the album onto for; another example of hasty judgment.
After listening to the album a little more, I figure it's
a'ight. Although it sounds like he was scared of using different
samples, would someone tell me where this dungeon is that they put
Easy Mo Bee in, and didn't let him come out until he had beats? On
this album, but especially on B.I.G's album, Mo Bee pulled some shit
out his ass!
Lyrically, this is an interesting album. Craig Mack seems to
have took out trademarks on some terms. He uses a few different flows
on the album, and shows a lot of creativity. One thing I noticed
though is that the album is somewhat contradicting at times, but these
contradictions are VERY difficult to pick up if you don't pay very
close attention. The one thing I liked most about this album, and
Craig Mack in general, is the way that he talks on top of himself.
This was done throughout the album, and came off well.
All in all, a solid debut. Stand out cuts include "Get Down",
"Judgment Day", "Real Raw", "When God Comes", and "Making Moves With
Puff". With Third Eye waiting in the wings, will Bad Boy become the
Def Jam of the '90s? (Does anyone besides me remember when Def Jam
had VERY few artists, but ALL were DOPE?)
pH Level - 4/pHine
DIGABLE PLANETS, "Blowout Comb"
What a difference a label makes.
Pendulum Records was originally distributed by Elektra, that
label infamous for taking the profits from its hip hop albums and
funneling it into other projects, delaying album releases until the end
of time, then dropping its artists unless they do their music to
specific guidelines. Their inability to handle any urban music format
is obvious -- they dropped KMD and Grand Puba, they did the world's
worst promotion job with Del The Funky Homosapien's phat 2nd LP, and
they didn't sign SWV when they had the chance. The way they've treated
hip hop, you'd think that they wouldn't bat an eyelash at losing
Pendulum Records to EMI.
They ought to. Not only did they miss out on the BoogieMonsters
and the new Lords of the Underground, they lost their number one rap
group, the grammy-winning Digable Planets.
Now, I know you're thinking, "Who gives a fuck about a goddam
grammy?" But not only was "Reachin' (A New Refutation of Time and
Space)" a successful album, it was a *great* hip hop album. There were
so many layers to it that you had to play it over and over again just to
catch everything, and with those jazzy rhythms and smooth beats, it was
worth every listen.
Which brings us to 1994 and "Blowout Comb," an album that takes
the DPs in a slightly different direction. Oh, the jazziness is still
there, but this time, there's no feeling of crossover like there was
with "Rebirth of Slick." This is just pure, smoothed-out hip hop,
served up Brooklyn-style.
There's also a sort of 70s retro feel to this album, in part
because of the album art, in which Butter, Doodle and Mecca sport
these huge afros (don't worry, they didn't really grow 'em) and the
text speaks of revolution reminiscient of old Black Power literature
(topped off by the mention of imprisoned Panther Geronimo Pratt).
The music just takes that retro idea to the next level, with lots of
live percussion, phat horn/flute segues, and samples from *deep* in
the crates from everyone from Bobbi Humphrey ("Blowing Down," "The Art
of Easing") to Roy Ayers ("Borough Check") to Tavares ("Dial 7 (Axioms
of Creamy Spies)").
Beyond that, though, it's just plain phat. The DPs lyrical
flow is just too smooth, and mixed in with these tracks, it's all
good. Plus, there's a deeper message this time around -- very strong,
very pro-black, a little more political than you might expect. When
Sara Webb starts singing on the "Dial 7" track, you almost expect to
see the Planets walk in with a gangster lean dressed like the Drop
Squad, larger than life, the funkiest clan on the block.
It helps to have some appreciation for early Blacksploitation
flicks to get into some of the music, as it won't be what you might
expect from Digable Planets. But it doesn't jump out and grab you
like Shaft might. It leans into the groove smoothly, "16 times for
your mind with pleasure," as Mecca puts it in "The May 4th Movement
Starring Doodlebug." Guest appearances by Guru and Jeru The Damaja
add to the pleasure. This is a stone groove, baby.
What a shame that Elektra didn't think so. They would have
had this album out on their label in June, but they probably wanted
more of that crossover stuff. Losers...
pH Level - 6/pHat
FINSTA & BUNDY, "Sunnyside" b/w "Spirit Of The Boogie"
(Big Willie Records)
First there was Black Moon. Then there was Smif-N-Wessun
(although we have yet to see an album from them), or should I say
Steele & Tec. Now, we have Finsta & Bundy representing Bushwick.
The first thing one will notice about this duo is that they
are the first group out of this bunch NOT to be produced by Da
Beatminerz. The production from Finsta may sort of remind you of
Beatminerz production, but is different enough that it doesn't have a
wannabe sound to it (by the way, the production is on point).
Lyrically, Finsta & Bundy flow sort of like a 1994 Buckshot/Smif, but
are distinctive enough to get props on their own. The lyrics
themselves aren't great, but they are far from wack.
Bottom line is that if Finsta & Bundy continue to represent
the way they did on this single, they should definitely make some
noise in '95. Gotta send a G-Look out to the DJ at Disc-O-Mat on W.
4th for putting me on to this 12". And a note to Big Willie Records:
on the next 12", can we make sure the wax is labeled correctly?
Regardless, this single is dope. Go scoop it up.
pH Level - 5/pHunky
K.M.D., "Black Bastards"
(Editor's Note: This album was scheduled to be released by Elektra in
early '94. It is now only available directly from Zev Love X or
through bootleg outlets. We do hope that this album will be released
legitimately soon, if only to preserve the legacy of a group that
should have blown up. Thanks again, Elektra...)
First of all, yes I have the album on vinyl, but NO, don't ask
me to get acopy. I'm not sure about the details behind the release of
this bootleg album, but under the circumstances, I don't care. Now if
I can only get my hands on the pre-breakup Main Source's second album
on Wild Pitch.
Some quick things off the bat. The sound quality isn't the
greatest though it's not total sh*t. Also, the album is missing some
cuts. According to Matt Africa, who had a dub of the promo tape of
the album, there's at least two missing songs. Why they didn't get on
the bootleg? Don't know. But maybe if the album is ever released
commercially they'll put 'em back on.
For those who remember Mr. Hood, they'll remember a very
playful and well thought out project. Personally, I didn't like it
that much beat-wise so I never bothered keeping the album. With the
second album, they've definitely evolved in their sound. "What a
Nigga Know" was not a good representation of the album. The remix,
however, was more indicative because the album is more bassline-
My Basic Opinion: phat album. Every beat is tight, the
rhyming is good, and the general package is tight. Rest in Peace to
For those who care to read on...
"Black Bastards and Bitches." The first track starts out with
an "I ain't black, I ain't white" chorus with the background being a
jazzy, slurry bassline. After about eight bars, the beat drops in and
so does Zev Love X. After eight bars of rhyme, a playful horn loop
drops in and changes up every eight bars after. I've liked Zev Love
X's voice since 3rd Bass' "Gasface." The only glitch is once his
rhyme ends, because the track disintegrates in a beat-less chaos which
kills the flow. Sub Roc follows. I admit, it's hard to listen
without remembering that he's dead...
"It Sounded Like A Rock." Both my favorite and least favorite
track on the album for this reason: It takes its fat bassline from
Pharoh Sanders' "Thembi." I heard this track a year ago and I knew
from the first bar that this would be the first record I ever sampled
as a producer...and KMD beats me to it! Injustice! Seriously though,
the bassline is ALL that and KMD skillfully include other aspects of
Sanders' song. As the title indicates, Sub Roc rocks this track.
"Plummskinz." I haven't been able to find this "Nitty Gritty"
B-side yet so it was nice to find it on the album, though I think it's
shorter than the 12" copy. A classic beat...
"Fuck With the Head." The bassline is ill as usual, strumming
back and forth while various horns and some subtle scratching flavor
the rest of the track. The first rapper is from Hard 2 Obtain.
There's also a guest rhyme by DL (from H20?) It's a fairly simple
track, reminds me of the Beatnuts' "Are You Ready?" -- just better.
"Suspended Animation." Bass-heavy once again with a murky
bassline that soon gets complimented by a simple but crisp drum loop.
It's a short track, only one verse by each rapper and a very long
"Get You Now." A rather live sounding bass line rolls deep
and thrashing drums drop in on cue. This is the "hardest" track on
the album as Zev Love X step up their rhyme out of laid-back mode and
roll with some rabid energy.
"What a Nigga Know?" If you haven't heard this cut yet, don't
bother reading this review.
"Contact Blintz." The jazziest track on an already jazzed-up
album, this track incorporates vibes and a piano loop plus random
horns. The bassline is noticeably subtler, especially compared to
other tracks on the album.
In terms of mood, this album shares space with Organized
Konfusion's "Stress" LP, but it does a better job music-wise, going
with simple, but effective bass lines and throwing in enough extra
flavor to make the tracks more than one dimensional. Rhyme-wise, both
Zev Love X and Sub Roc have tight flow and style, spitting rhymes rat-
Better than "Mr. Hood"? Hard to say. "Black Bastards" is a
great album on its own merits, but in comparison? Depends on the
listener. As far as sophomore attempts ago, I still think Masta Ace,
Public Enemy, Common Sense (I ain't lying ya'll) and GangStarr have
the premium on them. But no doubt, this is a fine album and a rare
one at that.
pH Level - 5/pHunky
THE MEXAKINZ, "Zig Zag"
(Wild West/Mad Sounds)
Okay, so the title ain't that great. It is supposed to
describe their style -- you know back and forth a la Run-DMC or Das-
EFX. Not that they could be confused with either of these groups.
It seems the LBC is in tha house again. This time it's tha
Mexikinz trying to sport their skills. I guess they tried. "A Little
Somethin'" has a weak unoriginally styled chorus but there is some
nice Spanish language flow (which I was interested in from them in the
first place) "Welkum 2 Da Hood?" -- guess the lyrical content.
"Welcome to tha hood, do ya wanna be my neighbor?" (not unless they
got some fly hermanas) "Cok Bak Da Hamma!" has pretty good rhymin'
Especially in Spanish, same ol' chorus though, except for the
exclamation mark. In "Da Joint," the music is a familiar melody but
it's not sampled which is cool but this track lopes around with no
tightness whatsoever and needs trimming.
"Extaseason" is a sex song that must have prematurely
ejaculated before they went to the studio -- and they picked this as
their second single! No wonder nobody has ever heard of them. Before
you turn around, there's "Murdah." Now their Killers! Duck Down! Yeah,
"Push up N Da wrong" is kinda cool safe sex message and a good
sample for the chorus, but it's lost on this album. I wish they had
taken more chances with their musical choices like on "Phonkie
Melodia," which initially grabbed my attention.
On the whole, I've got to dis this album. The only thing that
stood out on this record was the Spanish rhymes and the 1st single
pH Level - 2/pHlat
Steven J Juon
NOTORIOUS B.I.G. (aka Biggie Smallz), "Ready To Die"
"You won't see me up in this motherfucker no more. I got big
plans nigga, big plans...."
And with that, we are introduced to the pHat new album by that
man they used to call Biggie Smallz on his own solo debut. As far as
most of his fans are concerned that still IS his name, but you know
how the legal bullshit goes.
This album easily qualifies as one of the few that manages to
live up to it's pre-release hype. If you didn't already know The
Notorious B.I.G. from such underground classics as "Party and
Bullshit" and Supercat's "Dolly My Baby" remix, you are in for a
First, B.I.G. has a voice that can only be described as a
thick chunky chocolate syrup that just FLOWS over every ice cream
track Easy Mo Bee could hook up (and his production is even MORE of a
surprise than anything else this album offers). Among others flexing
behind are Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs and DJ Premier on "Unbelievable".
Ironically, Premier's track is one of the few disappointments. The
harmonic discord he mastered so well on "D. Original" doesn't work for
Everybody talks about the second coming of Rakim being Nas.
Well B.I.G. to me is the second coming of Kool G Rap, because his
lyrics and hardcore and sexual without sounding silly, played, or
tired. His voice conveys a powerful tale and his lyrics, while not
INCREDIBLE, smack you across the grill with their delivery.
OK so I'm raving about how great it is, but where's the
evidence? For starters, peep "Things Done Changed", which is a back-
in-the-day jam on a WHOLE OTHER LEVEL:
Loungin at the barbecues drinkin brews
with the neighborhood crews hangin on the avenues
now turn your pages, to nineteen ninety three
Niggaz is gettin smoked G, believe me
He doesn't talk so much about the days being phat as he does
how shit flipped and now is FUCKED up. "Motherfucker this ain't back
in the days, but you don't hear me though."
Step right to track 3 and get broken off with the quickness,
cause like Guru said on "Just to Get a Rep" -- "well he's stickin you,
but taking all of your money." "Gimme the loot," cause he's a Bad Boy
on the label of the same name:
Big up big up, it's a stick up stick up
and I'm shootin niggaz quick if you hiccup
Don't let me fill my clip up in your back and head piece,
the opposite of peace...
...and on and on, till the jewelry is gone, word is BOND.
I could talk about how dope "Machine Gun Funk" and "Ready to
Die" are, but I can't help myself. It's the M-E-T-H-O-D Man! Perhaps
the other most anticipated solo debut from the East this fall is
Meth's own, but he takes a minute out to drop a few rhymes on "The
What", which is no doubt my fave on the LP.
I'm not a gentle - man, I'm a Method, Man
baby accept it, utmost respect it
*assume the position* stop look and listen
I spit on your grave then I grab my Charles Dickens...
BIG, no slouch either, comes back with:
Welcome to my center. Honies feel it deep in their placenta
cold as the pole in the winter.
Far from the inventor, but I got this rap shit sewed...".
Indeed he does.
Y'all know the next track Juicy, so I don't really need to say
nothin. In fact, I hardly need to say anything else at all! Check
out the smooth mack groove of "Big Poppa", the ghetto love tale of "Me
and My Bitch", check "Unbelievable" if you sweat everything Premier
has ever done, hell just check out the whole damn thing! There really
isn't that much on here that's wack. True hip-hop fans of all ages
and coasts should love it.
pH Level - 6/pHat
O.C., "Word Life"
Cool Kim hooked me up with O.C.'s new joint the other day, and
after a couple of listens (and some serious disagreement with Matt
Africa), I've come to my conclusions about the album...
This album reminds me a lot of Akineyle's LP. Not that their
rhyme styles are even close, but I felt both albums had decent moments
but over-all, were lackluster. Some of ya'll are probably going to
My read on what makes a good hip hop album is that it blends
good hip hop and rap. I'm using Nelson George's definitions of the
two where rap is the verbal ability of the MC whereas hip hop is the
overall flow. Hip Hop includes music, but isn't limited to it. So
good hip hop albums include a good blend of both rap and hip hop,
meaning that the rhyme is ON while the music and flow gets the
listener into it. It also means you can't really have one without the
other. A dope MC backed by wack production has good rap, just not
good hip hop. And smooth production that's laid over by weaker
rhyming also falls short.
In O.C.'s case, it's combo of both. O.C.'s rhyme style, while
far from wack, is not arresting. He's just...there. The production,
while jazzy and at times tight, doesn't have that "sonic impact" that
the Source was riffin' about. At it's best, most of it wasn't as good
as sh*t I've peeped on Common Sense's, the Beatnuts', or Extra
That's not to say that the album is wack. The first three
songs are fat, especially "Word Life" who's track should be recognized
by "Project Blowed" fans. I'm all up in "O Zone" if for no other
reason than it's going to be my theme song for my radio show...plus,
it is a fat song.
But then "Born to Live" drops in the standard TROY/Back In the
Day cut that seems almost cliche on albums nowadays. No offense, but
both the original AND the remix didn't move me much. "Ga Head With
Self" had a butter cut but was on some bullsh*t homophobic/misogynic
tip. O.C. comes off more ignorant than fly even if he did come up
with some good metaphors. Maybe I'm missing out on something, but how
many skeezing/cheating hoes are out there? It'd fuckin' blow my mind
to hear a rhyme praising sisters more than just once in a blue moon.
"Story" easily made my Least Favorite list. The beat was
nowhere, and the "story" was weak. Plus, it reminded too much of
"School of Hard Knocks" style of story telling. The "Outro," though,
was butter as was "No Main Topic" where Organized's Prince Poe shares
the mic duties.
But overall, this album didn't have me hyped, especially
compared to recent albums I've heard. With a few exceptions, the
album didn't have moments of hip hop ecstasy where I got a hit off of
just listening to it. Maybe that's a lot to ask but when I hear the
vibes on the Beatnuts' "Get Funky" or check the bassline on Extra
Pro's "Go Back to School" on some other level. O.C. didn't take me
pH Level - 4/pHine
Ryan A MacMichael
"Off the Dome! Freestyle Compilation"
Fools don't know about the giddy-gat...uh... gladiator,
Don't know about no... uh... I was gonna' say radiator...
Every time that I rock I tell ya I do not slippa',
Clip your nails every time that I do work,
I prefer my nails clipped so they don't hold dirt.
True freestyles right there, kid. Saafir the Saucee Nomad has
the nastiest flow in North America. His staccato on-off beat style
comes through in not only his album material (like his current single,
the incredible "Light Sleeper") but in his freestyles, where he'll
make an "uh..." a natural bridge as he thinks of what comes next.
And Supernatural. He's from Venus, straight up. This boy
flips lyrics off the cuff like it was nothing. EastWest will be
releasing his premiere album, a one-take straight up freestyled album.
Should be some fierce shit. Skills are definitely flexed on the air
on the Sway & Tech show on this tape -- they throw topics at him about
everything from the "Morning Show" to pimps & hookers. And he comes
This compilation has about 80 minutes worth of freestyles and
on air rhymes. Not everyone comes off the dome (Wu-Tang, Shyheim, and
Vicious don't, and neither does Kool Keith), but those that do rip shit
fierce and make this tape one of the best collections available for the
true hip-hop fans. Representing on this tape from beginning to end are
Extra P, O.C., Casual, Alkaholiks, Artifacts, Saafir, Kurious Jorge,
Masta Ase, Lord Digga, Raekwon, Method Man, Inspector Deck, Ras Kass,
Vooduu!, Kool Keith, Bobbito, Godfather Don, Ganjah K, Supernatural,
Guru, Jeru (not really, though), Grand Ghetto Communicator, Vicious,
Shyheim, Rza, Gza, Nef-Hu, Akineyle, Showtime, G-Money (damn, someone
actually HAS that name?!), Del, Evol, and Organized Konfusion. Repeat
performances on the tape come from Saafir and Supernatural.
Even though the full 90 minutes isn't filled with freestyles,
dmad fills it with other cuts. Mine had "Round 2" by the Heavyweights
(you know, Freestyle Fellowship, Volume 10, and crew), "Remain
Anonymous" by Ras Kass (kid is all that), and "Listen Up" by Erule.
Whether he changes for each tape he sends, I'm not sure, though.
So, basically, no one should sleep on this shit, 'cause it
highlights the best kids out there at the art of freestyling. It's
something that all too many kids can't do, but the crews on this tape
make it clear that it ain't dead.
To order, send a check or money order for $10 and 2 stamps for
2650 Durant St #D410
Berkeley, CA 94720
Nuff respect is given to the King Tech Wake-Up Show (106.1 San
Fran), the Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Show (89TEC9 NYC), DJ Kiilu
of the Heavyweights (fat mix tapes) and some show in LA (don't know
pH Level - 5/pHunky
Russell A. Potter
PARIS, "Guerilla Funk"
I've always had much respect for Paris, both for his messages
and his music, since his first single on Tommy Boy back in '89.
Paris's raps were, after Public Enemy, the strongest pro-Black
Nationalist voice in hip-hop, and matched their content with a tense
lyrical flow unlike any other rapper.
After his break with Warner/Tommy Boy in 1992 over their
attempt to censor his cover art (depicting Paris crouching in the
bushes, ready to take out then-President Bush) and his "Bush Killa"
anthem, he broke new ground by successfully going independent, then
picking up distribution for his new label via Priority (a path
followed not long afterward by Ice T). Paris released his banned
album, _Sleeping With the Enemy_, and built up Scarface as a force in
hip-hop, with his own posse of artists including the Conscious
Daughters, C-Funk, 4Deep, and The Old School.
Always a strong force in the production of his own beats, with
trademark guitar loops and panther growls, Paris worked the boards for
several of his Scarface artists. Those who caught the Daughters'
debut album, "Ear to the Street," were treated to a different sound,
West Coast funk with a new, harder edge. Finally, in '94, Paris
brings his new "Guerrilla Funk" to his own raps, and the result is an
album that combines street beats and Panther politics in a way no
other artist can. Paris kicks knowledge right from the first track,
On the scene, back again, with the muthafuckin' grip
'93 was the year P-Dog came rippin' shit
Bouncin' out the belly of the Beast
And still tha same nigga that was hollerin' fuck tha P
But check it out, it's the same ol' thang
'Cos the year is '94 and ain't a damn thang changed
Niggas still droppin' dead like flies
And I'm still lookin' for a way to make us rise
I emphasize that I still hate a devil
And I'mma muthafuck that, I'll take ya ass to tha next level
Straight guerrilla in the mist up to tha end
And I'm gonna put it in tha mix again ....
Paris's militant message is as potent as ever, and comes off
strong over his new funkdafied sound -- P-Dog meets P-Funk, you might
say. From this track, he slides right into "One Time Fo' Ya Mind,"
maybe the strongest cut on the album. Over a slow, haunting groove
(with an eerie Toni Childs vocal loop on the chorus), Paris sets the
Ever since I broke the grip of shame back in '89
I see tricks trippin' all the time, like a did a crime
Got me on the news, cos they wanna hide the truth
But notice I'm a soldier, and I'm comin' at the youth
Black guerrilla standing for my folk, and I'm proud
This one goin' out to the brothers locked down,
Now as long as we keep playing by your rules
I'm leavin' shit stains on ya flag 'till I'm through
Time after time, I bring the motherfuckin facts
I'm comin' pro-black, understand where I'm at.
After this track, things pick up right again with the lead
single, "Guerrilla Funk." It's amazing how many times the "Knee Deep"
beat can be used without getting tired -- from "Kiss You Back" to "Dre
Day" -- and Paris fattens it up by supplying new guitar fills and
customized vocals. The end effect is like putting new rims on an old
ride, making a track so funky and so righteous that it ought to send a
message to all would-be OG's of the week -- come correct or don't
Beatin' down your block is the brutha with the bomb shit
Comin' with tha sound, makin' underground bomb hits
New in '94, it's time for some action, I'm axin'
Which one a y'all is down for the count? -- Now
Still in a war zone, in '94 it's on,
but I'm full grown fuckin' with the microphone,
P-Dog creepin' in tha drop with a thirty-ot
Still fuckin' with tha man, and it's kinda odd
That a nigga roll down, and let the trigga go
Still gotta pray for an L.A. replay
Black folks still brain-dead to tha truth
But I still got love, so I'm comin' through
With a trunk full o' funk that'll make ya
separate the real from the fake, each and every day ...
This cut, without a doubt, will be blaring out car speakers
all through the fall. Yet Paris, however much he tailors his sound to
the beat of the moment, has serious business to take care of. Paris
stays true to his Panther roots, though on this album he's clearer
about what he wants to tear down than what he wants to build up.
Paris leaves the positivity tip to the numerous books and lecturers he
lists in the CD booklet (complete with phone numbers for booking
speakers). It's a good move, though you kinda wish more of that
knowledge was in the lyrics and less was on the bookshelf.
When you get right down to it, even the books Paris recommends
are pretty limited -- Chancellor Williams and J.A. Rogers are dusty
old stand-bys, and Frances Cress Welsing (a raging homophobe known for
her efforts to de-program gay black men) has no business on anybody's
"revolutionary" reading list. Progressive Black scholars such as
Manning Marable, bell hooks, or Michael Eric Dyson are strangely
absent -- as are Malcolm X and Frantz Fanon -- though maybe I
shouldn't be so picky with a bibliography that only measures three by
But whatever the source, it's the music that has to make it
come alive. "Outta My Life," recaptures the mellow feel of "Ebony"
and "Asaataa's Song," but the message is much more grim. In a moment
of self-reflection, Paris wonders "how many dope records do it take /
before the brother make sleeping giants awake?" It wouldn't take
many, if every album were as potent as this one, though this
particular cut doesn't have the flow of the first four. But that's
quickly forgotten when you hear "Whatcha See," a funky, phase-shifted
groove in which Paris shows that the P-Dog can morph into Doggy Dogg
without losing his political grip.
The lyrics run deep, though the Doggisms flow so thick and
heavy that you have the urge to laugh -- but not before you think. As
always, Paris still finds "brand new ways to my peoples' heart." Just
in case you can't contain that urge to laugh, though, you can cut
loose on the next track, "40 Ounces and a Fool," a signifying send-up
of Snoop's malt liquor endorsements:
Reachin' fo' the can is the man with no conscience
But I'm makin' money, so nigga you can watch this
Mac bubble, 'cos I'm trouble, when I pop the top
Even though I know, I'm sellin' out my soul, just to make a knot
So, Nigga buy it, and fuck what ya heard
Cos all of that old Black Power bullshit is for the birds
Yeah, I know its poison that I'm sellin 'em
But I'm the new house nigga wit da flowww ...
Finally, Paris goes out strong with the deep-down groove of
"Back in the Days." If the title sounds a little familiar, no doubt
it is -- and what does it say that so many rappers are looking back to
the time "before the glock was king" -- even those whose age is less
than half their gun caliber? Paris reaches back with the best,
striking up familiar themes from his own "The Days of Old." It's a
smooth cut, a sure pick for the album's second single, and Paris' most
polished track to date.
In fact, if there's anything I *do* miss in this album, it's
the rough, tense edge that used to make Paris stand a bit farther out
from the crowd. I'm down with the funk, and producers and DJ's can
dust off all the '70's vinyl they want, but listening to this album
makes me miss the sparseness and urgency of late-80's hip-hop.
Someday soon, I kinda feel, the thick funk grooves will fade back in
the mix a bit and let raw beats return to front and center -- maybe
Paris will be the one to do it on his *next* album. On the other
hand, if you like funk in your trunk and messages that will carry you
through the mess age, Paris has 'em both, and to spare.
pH Level - 5/pHunky
Russell A. Potter
"Phat Trax" (5 CD Compilation)
I have a lot of respect for Rhino Records. Once upon a time,
they were as stiff and heavy as an old '78, with most of their
releases concentrated in geriatric rock or mainline R&B compilations
like "Soul Hits of the 70's." To their credit, Rhino has tried to
keep up with the times, and as previous collections such as "Hip-Hop
From the Top" and "In Yo Face" amply prove, they can outdo just about
any label when it comes to tracking down old grooves, digitally
remastering them, and packaging them with informative liner notes.
And, unlike Priority, whose "Rapmasters" series promises "full-length"
and delivers cut versions, Rhino gets right on back to the studio
masters, and almost never fades out prematurely.
Now comes "Phat Trax," a five-CD compilation in which Rhino
tries to expand on its solid funk database with a collection that
brings together the phattest beats of the old school, especially those
beats that have been booming under the latest onslaught of gangsta
"Phat Trax" does what it promises, though for a variety of
reasons it's likely to irritate as many people as it pleases. The
tracks are phat both in the sense of beats and length; most of them
are taken from the extended 12" vinyl mixes (one reason why the CD's
average only ten songs each). For those funk-heads who are more than
knee deep in vinyl, there's little here they won't already have; this
collection aims directly at those whose system is built around a CD
player. For those listeners, this set is a gold mine, and will save
hours of searching around in used vinyl shops -- not to mention the
pristine, digital sounds (you can hear the music box key being wound
up in the intro to Sun's "Sun is Here" just as if it were an inch from
your ear). And, for those who crave bass, hearing these cuts re-EQ'ed
for the digital age is a treat in itself.
The tough part is the selection of tracks, which as always is
subject to the vagaries of the music industry's tangled web of
copyright and performance rights. Partly as a result, almost everyone
will find one of their favorites missing, or wonder why some cuts
ended up on this collection at all. At the same time, there's
something here for just about everyone, from the Meters' crisp, spare
beats ("Cissy Strut") to the hyper-arranged funk of the Brothers
Johnson ("Ain't We Funkin' Now"), and everything in between. For
anyone who grew up in the 70's, there's memory trips aplenty: an
early, Afro'd Natalie Cole, Fatback before its flash in the pan with
King Tim III, or the Heatwave of the Summer of '78 ("The Groove
Hip hop heads will recognize a lot of these tracks from
current samples and loops, proving once again that nostalgia has
*nothing* to do with how you raid the crates. That horn riff that
kicks off "Welcome to the Terrordome"? Try T.S. Monk's "Bon Bon Vie."
That crazy, whistling noise that sounds like a tea kettle about to
blow its top? It's in the JB's "The Grunt." If you thought Public
Enemy got the air raid sirens that launch *Nation of Millions* from a
sound effects record, you'll think again when the Gap Band drops a
bomb on you, and tracks like Lyn Collins's "Think" and Isaac Hayes's
"Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalymistic" will have you saying, "Damn! so
that's where that came from" about every fifteen seconds.
Not all these discs are created equal, however. Volume One is
my personal favorite; not only does it clock in with nearly 80 minutes
of funk, it has the full 15-minute version of Funkadelic's "Knee
Deep," Tom Browne's seminal "Funkin' for Jamaica (N.Y.)," and Isaac
Hayes representing the old *old* school (every volume but volume five
has a track or two from the sixties to round things out). Volume
three, which brings together The Time ("777-9311," you realize, is a
much funkier number than 1-800-NEW-FUNK), Slave's "Watching You," Con
Funk Shun's "Chase Me," and the inescapable "Atomic Dog," is another
standout. Volume five is a fitting end to the series, showcasing late-
70's and early 80's funk from the Gap Band, GQ, Laid Back, the Dazz
Band, and Foxy.
Volumes 2 and 4 don't pack quite the same amount of funk to
the square inch (maybe even numbers are inherently less funky), and
also have some repeat tracks already available on other Rhino
compilations (one bad habit I wish Rhino would break -- why should I
buy a "new" compilation that has two tracks already re-released by the
same company?). But other than that, complaints are few; if you like
CD's and want the maximum amount of funk for your trunk, these
compilations have it.
pH Levels -
Vol. 1 5/pHunky
Vol. 2 4/pHine
Vol. 3 5/pHunky
Vol. 4 4/pHine
Vol. 5 5/pHunky
Vol. 1 (Rhino R2 71752)
Funkadelic -- (Not Just) Knee Deep
Brick -- Dazz
Mass Production -- Firecracker
Brass Construction -- Get Up to Get Down
Fatback -- Gotta Get My Hands on Some (Money)
Twenynine, featuring Lenny White -- Peanut Butter
Michael Henderson -- Wide Receiver
Bar-Kays -- Hit and Run
Isaac Hayes -- Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalymistic
Vol. 2 (Rhino R2 71753)
Funkadelic -- One Nation Under a Groove
Fatback -- Backstrokin'
Tom Browne -- Thighs High (Grip Your Hips and Move)
Sun -- Sun is Here
Faze-O -- Riding High
One Way -- Pull Fancy Dancer Pull
T.S. Monk -- Bon Bon Vie
Brick -- Dusic
Lyn Collins, the Female Preacher -- Momma Feel Good
The Meters -- Cissy Strut
Vol. 3 (Rhino R2 71754)
One Way -- Cutie Pie
Slave -- Watching You
The System -- You are in my System
Yarbrough & Peoples -- Don't Stop the Music
Con Funk Shun -- Chase Me
Madame X -- Just That Type of Girl
The Time -- 777-9311
Jesse Johnson's Revue -- Free World
George Clinton -- Atomic Dog (Atomic Mix)
Otis Redding & Carla Thomas -- Tramp
Vol. 4 (Rhino R2 71755)
Cameo -- Shake Your Pants
Rufus & Chaka -- Do You Love What You Feel
Carl Carlton -- She's a Bad Mama Jama
Roy Ayers -- Don't Stop the Feeling
Junior -- Mama Used to Say
Teena Marie -- Square Biz
The Brothers Johnson -- Ain't We Funkin' Now
One Way -- The Groove
The JB's -- The Grunt
Lyn Collins, the Female Preacher -- Think (About It)
Vol. 5 (Rhino R2 71756)
The Gap Band -- You Dropped a Bomb on Me
Heatwave -- The Groove Line
Cheryl Lynn -- Got to Be Real
Emotions -- Best of my Love
Natalie Cole -- Be Thankful
GQ -- Disco Nights (Rock Freak)
People's Choice -- Do It Any Way You Wanna
Laid Back - White Horse
Dazz Band -- Joystick
Foxy -- Get Off
PMD, "Shade Business"
A year or so, we heard that Parrish Smith was not going to
make any solo joints. Why couldn't he stick to his guns?
This has got to be one of the worst albums I have ever heard.
If you only want to hear how well your system can handle bass, this is
the album for you. If you want to hear dope beats, or dope rhymes,
it's not. Lyrically and musically, this album relies too much on old
EPMD tracks. The other thing that makes this album weak is the
delivery and flow. There are SEVERAL places on the album where you
wonder if there is some beat somewhere that PMD is "flowing" to, only
it is not the one playing.
The other MAJOR problem with this album is that it is
EXTREMELY OBVIOUS that Erick Sermon is the target of the album, from
the line over the "E", to lots of the "lyrical" material. To compound
this even further, the use of outside emcees is very similar to what
Erick Sermon did on his album. One thing that someone should tell
Parrish Smith is that when you have guest emcees on your album, they
should not outshine you on every cut they appear, which is not saying
much when we refer to Zone 7 and Top Quality. 3rd Eye is the only
bright spot on an otherwise shineless album, along with the Das EFX
cameo on "Here They Cum".
I think this album should have been called "Going Out Of
Business". Some people just dont know when to say when.
pH Level - 2/pHlat
POPPA DOO, "da saga continues"
It must be the money. I can't think of any other reason why
some people even bother making albums like Poppa Doo's latest effort "da
saga continues." This saga never should have started -- it's so played
out with its drug-smuggling, get-rich-quick, shoot-anyone-in-your-path
bullshit that it's barely worth the effort to review.
As a matter of fact, this album demonstrates just what's wrong
with hip hop today. It seems like everyone in this whole goddamn
business is trying to come up on some old gangsta lean, and nobody is
taking responsibility for what they're saying. How many niggaz do you
have to kill on a record to be considered a good artist? How many
blunts do you have to smoke? How many babies do you have to father and
then leave saying "Fuck a bitch" behind you (like Poppa Doo says in "Mass
Murderin'" -- there's a theme worth celebrating, eh?) in some vain
attempt to prove your manhood?
And people wonder why hip hop gets such a bad rep among parents
and other so-called authority figures -- BECAUSE THIS IS THE SHIT WE
GIVE THEM!!! And this is the shit hip hop cannot afford to accept
anymore. I'm sick of all these wanna-be gangsta rappers who think
they're all that just because they have a record, or because they make
money from some label that will pay 'em and drop 'em after their Chronic
sound-alike doesn't sell as well as Dr. Dre's did. You can make a
record about being "Fucked in the Game" a million times over -- WHAT THE
FUCK ARE YOU DOING ABOUT IT????????
Records like this have to stop. This is not the way rap music
deserves to go out, because this album is not rap music -- it's garbage,
pure and simple. Hip hop isn't going anywhere until garbage like this
gets kicked to the curb. So to all you punks out there that think the
only way you're going to make it in rap is to rhyme about the same
trash that happens in the ghetto over and over again -- get over it.
There's a world out there that doesn't give a fuck about your block.
Learn to represent the human race for a change.
pH Level - 1/pHukkit
SAAFIR, "Boxcar Sessions"
Saafir the Saucee Nomad first broke onto the scene in late 1993
with a cameo on Digital Underground's LP "The Body Hat Syndrome," but
didn't actually catch anyone's attention until he did a short track on
Casual's album "Fear Itself." It was then that he and Hobo Junction, a
crew that came quite literally from the streets of Oakland, finally got
some attention for their demo, which was an underground sensation in the
Bay Area for over a year.
It resulted in a contract with Qwest and the phat single "Light
Sleeper/Battle Drill," which highlighted Saafir's crazy newfangled flow
to the highest extremes. So this album is something heads have been
anticipating for a while.
The rep Saafir (which is not only the MC's name, but also the
name of the group, Saafir and Jay-Z) created for themselves, however,
doesn't come through in this album. Lyrically, Saafir is rarely off-
point, but musically, something is missing. A lot of the production
sounds muddy and indistinct, leaving the album without a solid phat
groove to complement the lyrics. Only a few tracks besides the cuts on
their first single come off ("Just Ridin'", "Playa Hayta"), and even
they don't reach out and grab you and say, "Yo, this is phat, right?"
In addition to being a Saafir album, "Boxcar Sessions" is also a
Hobo Junction preview reel, with more cameo appearances than a week of
Letterman episodes. Some of them are cool, like Benny B.'s message ("If
you follow a light down a dark path, the path could go anywhere,
eventually leading to a dark end. If you are the light, you are the
path."), but others such as Pee Wee's "How many times can you say
muthafucka?" soliloquy just don't do anything but sit there and take of
space on this album. Other cameos in which members of the Junction
rhyme don't help either, since all they do is highlight how much better
Saafir is on the mic.
If you dig hip hop only for the lyrics, this is your album.
Saafir is one of the most original lyricists to hit the scene since
Hiero first hit the scene a couple of years ago. However, if you're
looking for beats that come out and grab you and don't let go, you'd be
better off just getting Saafir's single and moving on. The Hobos still
need some extra work on their production before they can jump off on
something that slams like it should.
pH Level - 4/pHine
SIMPLE E, "Colouz Uv Sound"
It's about time.
For about four or five months after the buzz from her debut
single "Play My Funk" finally died down, Simple E (pronounced Simply E)
was AWOL from the hip hop scene, and everyone was wondering where she
went. Mad heads suspected that D'wayne Wiggins left her halfway through
the production to go on tour with them other two Tonies. No problem --
just call up Mister Lawnge, Ali Shaheed Muhammed and Terry T. to finish
up and voila! Before you can say "Bahamidia," Simple E picks up where
she left off with "Colouz Uv Sound."
Her unique musical delivery combined with some groovin' jazz
tracks makes for quite the bomb, which hits you immediately on the first
cut, the Terry T-produced "Kum Follow Me." The sample from The
Crusaders' "Covert Action" fits the bill nicely as E takes out all those
jealous of her success that aren't do anything for self. The vibe flows
through other tracks such as "de Abyss," a walk through a hip hop
nightmare in which everyone's gone out but her, "Paradigmz," in which E
tells it like it is: "I'd rather spit dope / rhyme what I wrote / rhyme
what I write / Poets don't fight / but Sucka ducks might," and "An
Innocent Rage," in which E quietly goes off on the state of the world.
Occasionally, this album slips into some different vibes that
don't quite work. "Rant & Rave," produced by Mr. Lawnge, doesn't take
away from E's skills, but it's missing the same head-nodding power of
some of her other tracks, and "East Coast/West Coast" (isn't this tired
yet?) is the same old same old battle with Spice 1 about which coast
runs things in hip hop. Other times, though, the lighter vibe works,
such as on "Realite," where E talks over an R&B-tinged cut about
problems in the world and makes a quick jab at Bahamidia, "Some woman
who looks like me / talks like me / one day she's gonna flip / you'll
All in all, nothing really jumps out and screams dopeness like
"Play My Funk" did, but it's a solid debut effort, and one that deserves
a little attention for Simple E. Maybe this time around, she won't have
any problems with people who mispronounce her name.
pH level - 4/pHine
Steven J Juon
SIR MIX-A-LOT, "Chief Bootknocka"
Who's been sleeping with my funk? Probably Mix, the self-
proclaimed "Mack Daddy" of hip-hop. In years past there hasn't been
much reason to dispute his title, but this time out I think somebody
in Seattle was SLEEPIN' (and NOT with anything funky).
OK, I've been a Mix fan since his Posse was on Broadway and
his Beeper kept him busy, so I feel credible in saying this is not the
Mix we know and love. His beats used to be sharper and his rhyme
material, while sex-based, was not ENTIRELY sex-based. What happened
to the songs about the hypocrisy of America and his love for hip-hop?
Probably the two closest songs are "I Check My Bank" and
"Takin My Stash". "I Check My Bank" was originally on the Trespass
soundtrack, and for some reason they decided to play with the chorus
and change it up a little. Frankly it was one of Mix's pHattest songs
ever and they should have left well enough alone. The changes make it
worse. As for "Takin My Stash", it's a decent albeit somewhat
repetitive tale of being jacked by the IRS.
But lets get down to what's REALLY wrong with this album.
Case in point #1 is his first single, "Put Em On The Glass". This is
little more than "Baby Got Back, Part 2" and suffers from a total lack
of lyrical or musical creativity. Case in point #2 is his second
single, "Ride". Who's idea was this? It sounds like techno garbage,
and what's WORSE, it has a sample of Daisy Dukes. PLEASE!
Just so you don't think this is a total diss fest, I do think
it's a decent album, just not spectacular. To me, a few more songs
like "Sleepin Wit My Fonk" would have been a much better choice. Over
a plucky funk line (with some help from Bootsy Collins) Mix tells the
tale of how his girl got stolen and he's on the roll trying to get
even any way he can. Now THIS would have been a phat choice for
single and video. I honestly hope it is his next single.
In short, if you're a fan, then you probably want the album
(that's the only reason I bought it). If you like a few of his songs
but not his work as a whole this one isn't going to change your mind.
You need to back track to the Mack Daddy LP.
pH Level - 3/pHair
SKADANKS, "Give Thanks"
It's interesting how the battles of hip hop's old school keep
playing out today. When KRS-ONE introduced Skadanks on his Human
Education Against Lies project in 1991, frontman Rocker T was one of
the only white dancehall DJs on the scene. Not even a year later, MC
Shan introduces a new DJ named Snow who blows up on eMpTyV. Shan
still tries anything to get back at Mr. Parker for "The Bridge Is
It took 3 years for Skadanks to get their act together and
finally drop an album, though some of that probably had to do with
the label that signed 'em. It was enough to make for a pretty solid
debut, which jumps right out and grabs you with "Pass The Herb," an
uptempo, danceable cut that knocks the "downpressor" for "the
criminalization of religious custom." This jam kicks hard.
From there the band moves on to some different flavors,
getting deeper into more classic reggae grooves with "Friends," "Let
Them Be Fed" and "911," a somewhat calmer reggae version of Flavor
Flav's famous rant a couple of years back. Skadanks makes the most of
their live instrumentation on tracks like "Rock And Come On," "2 Luv"
and "Stopper (Jah Jah Power)." Those tracks add some nice R&B flavors
that make for the best music on the album.
Rocker T's delivery isn't always perfectly on point, but he
hits more than he misses. He's at his best when he doesn't try to
sound too much like Mad Lion, and he still has enough skills as a
dancehall chatter to turn crowds out. Add some themes true to the
original Rastafarian spirit, and you've got a debut that should fit
quite nicely between Shabba and Mad Cobra.
If Skadanks weren't on Elektra, they'd probably blow up much
bigger, but that goes for just about anyone on Elektra these days.
Hopefully they won't wait another 3 years before their next album.
pH Level - 4/pHine
Steven J Juon
SUDDEN DEATH, "Brain Damage"
This short 30 minute sampler is brought to you by that nut
Devo Spice, who has had more songs on Dr. Demento than Shaq has had
backboard shattering dunks. If you aren't familiar with his last
album, then ask Spice for a copy of this promo. Basically, he does
comedic parodies of popular pop music and hip-hop tunes. The beats
are generally not even CLOSE to the original and are occasionally on
the shitty side, but it's all in good fun and the humorous content
more than makes up for it.
Take for example "Smoker", a parody of alternative artist
Beck's "Loser". This one is a laugh a minute, even if you HAVEN'T
heard the original. As if you hadn't guessed, it's a song about
smoking -- yeah he's a smoker baby, and it'll probably kill him. Very
demented, but what else would you expect from Spice?
Even better though is "Do You Piss in the Shower?" This
original song has a better than average (for Spice) track and is a
hilarious tale about those annoying people who come up to you in the
mall and ask you stupid questions for a survey. When Spice issues the
beatdown at the end I'm laughing and celebrating at the same time.
What else can I say? Well, if you take your hip-hop so
seriously you can't stand a good natured poke, don't pick up the full
length "Brain Dead" LP or any of his other work. And if the only flow
you are hearing is hardcore and nubian, you might be turned off. To
me, though, it's cool, and a hell of a lot of fun to boot.
pH Level - 4/pHine
Well, we're not as punctual as we have been in the past, thanks to all
those bums who are still learning the meaning of DEADLINES -- no
names, y'all know who you are =^) -- but as always, we make sure we
come correct. We hope you enjoyed this issue as much as we enjoyed
putting it together.
Look at that calendar. Is 1994 almost over already? Where did the
year go? We'll be sure to let you know next issue, and we'll let you
know where the next year is headed. We'll also have nomination
ballots for the 4th Annual New Jack Hip Hop Awards -- unless we
decide to tie Charles Isbell to a chair and make him write a Goats'
LP review. =^) Until then, PEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACE!!!